Georgetown: Badminton Superstar Lee Chong Wei enjoyed a relatively easy passage into the semi-finals of the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold after defeating 10th seeded Ajay Jayaram of India, 21-16, 21-16 in 35 minutes at the SPICE Arena on Friday.
“Ajay caught me off-guard few times today, fortunately I was able to recoup the advantage to win the match,” said Lee.
Lee will take on No. 3 seed Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia in the semi-finals. Lee holds the upper-hand in terms of the head-to-head against Sugiarto, winning all of their last 13 meetings.
Tommy Sugiarto trounced China’s Qiao Bin 21-6, 21-17 in another quarter-final match that was held earlier Friday.
The reigning Malaysia national champion, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin was in red-hot form when he denied tournament’s eighth seed, Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong in straight sets of 21-11, 21-15, to advance to the semi-finals.
“I knew Angus wanted to win the match so badly, I kept attacking and it turned out the strategy was working quite effectively,” said Zainuddin.
Zainuddin will play No. 2 seed Kidambi Srikanth of India for a final berth. Both Zainuddin and Srikanth have met once at last year’s Syed Modi International Badminton Championships, where Srikanth was stretched to the limit by the Malaysian before prevailing with 22-20, 20-22, 21-11.
Meanwhile, Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong made it to the men’s doubles semi-finals while Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong were shown the exit on Friday.
Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong had to go toe-to-toe with Japanese pair Hiroyuki Saeki/Ryota Taohata before clinching their quarter-final match 21-16, 20-22, 21-13 in 51 minutes. They will clash with No. 1 seeds Kim Gi-Jung/Kim Sa-rang from South Korea on Saturday.
“We have never beaten Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang. The most important thing for us right now is to find the right game plan against the Koreans,” said Tan Boon Heong. The Koreans had a 4-0 head-to-head advantage against Koo/Tan and they would surely be a tough nut to crack for the Malaysian pair.
Malaysia’s another men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong had an opposite fortunes compared to Koo/Tan, they started off with great momentum by winning the first set 24-22, but lost their remaining two sets 16-21, 16-21 to Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda of Japan.
In the mixed doubles competition, Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying will take on compatriots Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing in the semi-finals.
“We always spar with each other during training, and we know each other very well. We’ll have to find a way to win the match,” said Chan Peng Soon.
In women’s singles, No. 1 seed Sung Ji Hyun will play No. 3 seed P.V Sindhu in the semi-finals, while No. 7 seed Yui Hashimoto of Japan will square off Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland in the other half.