Tan Boon Heong (left) and Hoon Thien How in action during the Thomas Cup in India in May. They are the only survivors for Malaysia in the Australia Open. - AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s hope for a double joy was shattered when only Hoon Thien How-Tan Boon Heong made the semi-finals of the Australian Open in Sydney.
On Friday, the unseeded Thien How-Boon Heong survived a strong assault in their opening game to beat China’s Cai Yun-Kai Lu 23-21, 21-16 in a 47-minute men’s doubles quarter-final match.
The duo, the former world junior champions, will take on South Koreans Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong, who foiled an all-Malaysia party by knocking out Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong 21-15, 24-22 in another quarter-final match that also lasted 47 minutes.
Although happy to reach his first semi-final in a Superseries this year, Boon Heong said he would not be distracted when facing the fancied Koreans.
Last month, Boon Heong and his bulky partner Thien How went down fighting to Yong-dae-Yeon-seong in a group tie during the Thomas Cup Finals at New Delhi.
“It is pointless to recall past records. What is important is for us to give our full attention and play the best we can tomorrow (today),” said Boon Heong.
“I hope we can win but it will not be easy. The standard of the doubles is very close ... just look at how close it was against Cai Yun-Kai Lu.”
Boon Heong-Thien How are the only shuttlers left to carry the torch for Malaysia following the defeats of Chan Peng Soon-Lai Pei Jing in the mixed doubles event.
Peng Soon-Pei Jing did not last long on the court when they bowed out 11-21, 15-21 to Sudket Prapakamol-T. Saralee of Thailand in just 36 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the men’s singles event, five-time world champion Lin Dan will take on a younger compatriot Tian Houwei in the semi-finals.
In an all-Indonesia semi-final, a resurgent Simon Santoso will face Tommy Sugiarto, who did well to dispose of Kento Momota of Japan with an easy 21-18, 21-7 win.