Sydney: Former world No. 1 men’s pair from Malaysia Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong’s quest for the Australian Open title came to a halt on Friday after they lost to 6th seeds Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan of China.
Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong made a slow start in the first set in which they were trailed behind 1-6, they were struggling to return Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan’s strong smashes and went down 11-21. Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong then shrugged off dropping the first set against the Chinese pair, found their rhythm to lead at 19-17 in the second set. But several unforced errors and bad defensive plays at critical moments saw their chances for a shot at the Australian Open title went up in smoke, losing the second set 19-21.
Having played their first comeback tournament, Koo/Tan have not been expected by many to surface all the way through to the Australian Open quarter-finals, considering the last time Koo/Tan have stormed past quarter-finals was at the 2013 Yonex French Open, where they lost to Gideon Markus Fernaldi/Markis Kido from Indonesia in the men’s doubles final. Koo/Tan might have lost, but they’ve showed very encouraging signs that they were ready for their comeback attempt.
Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan will play Liu Chen/Lu Kai in the semi-final. Liu Cheng/Lu Kai defeated last year’s men’s doubles world champions Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Choel 21-16, 21-13 to reach the semis.
In men’s singles, Jan Jorgensen of Denmark will take on compatriot Viktor Axelsen in the semi-final on Saturday, while world No. 1 Chen Long of China faces his teammate Tian Houwei in another men’s singles semi-final.