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Wednesday December 5, 2012

Old injury dampens mixed doubles specialist Liu Ying’s enthusiasm

PETALING JAYA: Mixed doubles specialist Goh Liu Ying is heading to the BWF World Super Series Finals in Shenzhen from Dec 12-16 with mixed feelings.

Though delighted to be in the Finals with partner Chan Peng Soon, Liu Ying is also worried that a nagging knee injury may prevent them from doing well.

The diminutive Liu Ying and Peng Soon have enjoyed a massive breakthrough this year, having reached the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open and All-England.

Although they didn’t fare too well at the London Olympics, losing all three matches to crash out in the group stage, they came back stronger and picked up their first-ever Super Series title by winning the Japan Open in September.

They also made the semi-finals of the Denmark Open in October and the China and Hong Kong Opens last month.

Peng Soon-Liu Ying’s tremendous form this year has also pushed them up the rankings, from No. 11 in January to No. 3 now.

It also earned them the ticket to Shenzhen by virtue of being the second ranked pair in the Super Series standings, in which only the top eight pairs will compete.

However, all that exertions have taken a toll on Liu Ying’s fitness and she is now racing against time to recover from an old right knee injury.

“It’s an old injury which flared up recently ... I’m not sure what kind of condition I’ll be in when the Super Series Finals begin,” said Liu Ying.

“I guess I’ve been pushing too hard recently, especially during the China and Hong Kong Opens because that was when I felt the pain again.

“I’ve had a week’s rest since returning from Hong Kong and been following the physio’s instructions, but there’s still a bit of pain when I hit the courts.

“I’m just hoping that the injury doesn’t act up again when the action begins in Shenzhen.”

Peng Soon-Liu Ying will not have an easy time at the Super Series Finals as almost all the top mixed pairs have qualified for the event, in particular arch-rivals Xu Chen-Ma Jin and Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei of China.

“It’s great to be ranked in the top four now but our work is far from done. I really want to beat the Chinese pairs,” said Liu Ying.

“Since returning from the Olympics, we have grown in confidence ... especially after beating the Indonesians (Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir) last month at the China Open.

“But the China pairs are on a different level ... both pairs are equally strong and it will be a real challenge to overcome them.”

For the record, Peng Soon-Liu Ying have a 1-5 record against world No. 1 Xu Chen-Ma Jin and 0-4 against world No. 4 Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei.

Besides the mixed duo, the other Malaysians heading to Shenzhen are singles shuttlers Lee Chong Wei, Liew Daren and men’s pairs Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong.

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