Kuala Lumpur: World No. 10 Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan from Malaysia defeated World No. 2 Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota of Japan in the Malaysia Masters second round on Thursday 21-14, 21-19 to advance to the quarter-finals.
“We played well in the first game, but we lost focus at the end of the second game. Our opponents started to be able to read our match,” said Muralitharan.
“Thanks to the coaches for reminding us to be more aggressive and we finally managed to beat them,” added Muralitharan.
The Malaysian pair is scheduled to meet the last week’s Malaysia Open champions – Apriyani Rahayu/Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti of Indonesia in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, another Malaysian women’s pair – the World No. 37 Anna Cheong Ching Yik/Teoh Mei Xing, also sprung a surprise in the second round when they beat the World No. 6 Japanese pair – Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara 21-11, 21-15 in 38 minutes to enter the quarter-finals.
The victory was sweet revenge for Cheong/Teoh as they fell to the hands of the same opponents 15-21, 21-23 in the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Open last Friday.
“We lost to them last week because our mental preparation wasn’t ready,” said Cheong.
“Today, we were able to withstand the pressure and take advantage of their mistakes to score points,” added Cheong.
Cheong/Teoh are set to meet the World No. 11 Jeong Na Eun/Kim Hye Jeong of Korea on Friday, who defeated Febby Valencia Dwijayanti Gani/Ribka Sugiarto of Indonesia 23-25, 21-17, 21-18 in the second round.
“We’ve never played them. We are mentally prepared to meet anyone. I’ll say it’s going to be a 50-50 match against the Korean pair,” said Teoh.
In women’s singles, Malaysia’s former two-time World Junior champion Goh Jin Wei failed to advance to the quarter-finals after she put up a strong fight but ultimately went down to World No. 2 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan 21-16, 7-21, 9-21.
“I gave 200 percent in the first set, which is why I couldn’t continue it in the second and third sets, and it’s a huge gap between us,” said Goh.
“I think my condition has improved after a year of rehabilitation. It’s just that I still need a lot of training to improve every aspect of my game,” added Goh who underwent a colectomy surgery in October 2019.
Tai will take on World No. 7 PV Sindhu of India in the final eight.