Ho Chi Minh City: The unseeded Malaysian men’s doubles pair Mohd Arif Latif/Nur Azriyn Ayub pulled off a shocker in the quarter-finals of 2018 Vietnam Open as they stunned the No. 1 seeds and compatriots Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik 21-15, 21-18 on Friday.
The Malaysian independent pair told reporters that it didn’t really matter who they defeated, as long as they could continue to win for their country.
“Personally, it is not important whether or not we are players from Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), the most important is to keep the Malaysian flag flying,” said Arif.
“I believe Aaron-Wooi Yik were under a lot of pressure, especially after a recent strong performance at the World Championship. Too much expectations were riding on their shoulders.”
“For Azriyn and me, we have set our own targets to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Therefore, we need to improve our rankings. We want to play our best and achieve it one game at a time.”
Arif-Azriyn, who left the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) last June, will face the 2014 World Champions, Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol of Korea in the semi-finals.
Arif-Azriyn, who won the Russian Open last month, was the sole Malaysian representative left in the tournament after national women’s singles, Ho Yen Mei lost 22-20, 15-21, 11-21 to the seventh Han Yue from China in the quarter-finals, while another Malaysian men’s doubles pair Goh Sze Fei/Nur Izzuddin Rumsani went down to Lee Sheng Mu/Yang Po-Hsuan of Taiwan 14-21, 21-19, 15-21.
The Taiwanese pair will clash with their teammates Lin Shang Kai/Tseng Min Hao for a spot in the final on Saturday.