Hoon Thien How (right) and Tan Wee Kiong followed Lee Chong Wei into the quarter-finals of the Singapore Open after beating their Thai opponents in straight sets on Thursday. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shuttlers last tasted a double success at the Singapore Open six years ago in 2008.
There is a glimmer of hope for another double celebration after the men’s doubles pair Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong came out of their rut to join world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in the quarter-finals of the Superseries tournament.
World No. 9 Thien How-Wee Kiong, who have been struggling to find their footing over the last month, remained steady to beat a fast attacking Maneepong Jongjit-Nipitphon Puangpuapech of Thailand 21-17, 21-18 in the second round on Thursday.
The duo had fallen flat on their faces a few times since taking over the country’s No. 1 spot from their seniors Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong last month.
They were blown away in the opening round of the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold in Pasir Gudang as well as the Indian Open in New Delhi.
On Friday, they will take on the dangerous sixth seeds Lee Sheng-mu-Tsai Chia-hsin of Taiwan, who have a knack of beating any top pair on their day.
Thien How-Wee Kiong will be out to keep their winning streak against the Taiwanese after beating them en route to winning their first career title at the Macau Open last year.
While the victory of Thien How-Wee Kiong was a pleasant surprise, the outstanding performance of Chong Wei was expected.
The 31-year-old Chong Wei, fresh from winning the Indian Open, did not show any signs of lethargy when he blazed the court for a sensational 21-11, 21-6 win over China’s Chen Yuekun.
Next, he will take on unseeded 23-year-old Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand, whom he beat in straight games in all of their last eight meetings.
At the 2008 Singapore Open, Lee Chong Wei won the men’s singles and Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari bagged the men’s doubles crown.
India’s K. Srikanth pulled off the only upset in the men’s singles when he carved out a superb 18-21, 21-15, 21-8 win over World Championships bronze medallist Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam to set up a meeting with Hong Kong’s Hu Yun.
It was however all over for Malaysia in the mixed doubles and women’s doubles events.
Hope was high on the country’s top mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying but the duo ran out of steam against China’s Liu Cheng-Bao Yixin, losing 17-21, 21-12, 12-21.
Nonetheless, Liu Ying was still happy, this being her first tournament with Peng Soon after two months apart.
“It was sad to lose but I had the satisfaction of playing my best. I was not troubled by my knee problems. We just encountered some problems at the front court but with more matches together, Peng Soon and I should get it right,” said Liu Ying.
“The outing here has given me some positive signs on how much I can push myself. Peng Soon and I are looking forward to the Commonwealth Games (in Scotland in July) with more confidence,” added Liu Ying.
The pair will next play at the Japan Open in June.
Youngster Lee Meng Yean lost both her matches on Thursday - going down in the mixed doubles with Ong Jian Guo and losing the battle with Lim Yin Loo in the women’s doubles.