Rio de Janeiro: Top Malaysian men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong stood the pressure to stun world number one pair Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong from South Korea to qualify for the men’s doubles semifinals at the Rio Olympic Games here, yesterday.
Displaying an aggressive attacking game when it mattered most, the Malaysians marched into the semis with a 17-21, 21-18, 21-19 win in 86 minutes, though securing only their second win over the Koreans in eight encounters.
Fighting tooth-and-nail in the decider, the Koreans made a last ditch attempt after trailing 13-18 and narrowed the gap to 19-20 before the Malaysians finished them off and await their semifinal encounter scheduled tomorrow.
V Shem-Wee Kiong will take on Chai Biao-Hong Wei in the last four after the Chinese pair went the distance to beat Russian pair Valdimir Inaov/Ivan Sozonov 21-13, 16-21, 21-16 in 56 minutes.
The victory in the quarterfinals boosted Malaysia’s medal hopes in the Olympics.
In another semifinal, world number four, Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan from China will take on Britain’s Marcus Ellis/Chris Langridge.
The Chinese pair who lost to the Malaysians in three sets during the group matches, defeated Korean world number three, Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang 11-21, 21-18, 24-22 in match that lasted 73 minutes.
The British pair claimed a semifinal berth after a hard-fought 21-19, 21-17 win over Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa in their quarterfinal encounter.
Meanwhile, Wee Kiong said they would go all out in the semifinals after a morale boosting win over the Koreans.
“We stood the pressure and went into attacking mode in the decider. We have confidence to move further,” he said.
However, women’s doubles Vivian Hoo Kah Mun/Woon Khe Wei failed to pull off an upset in their quarterfinal match after conceding defeat to world number one pair Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Akahashi of Japan.
The Japanese pair won 21-16, 18-21, 21-9 in 76 minutes.
However, the Malaysian pair can still walk with their heads high since it was the first time they managed to steal a set from the Japanese after failing in seven previous attempts.
“We couldn’t sustain the pressure from the Japanese pair in the decider,” said Kah Mun after the gruelling match.