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Friday January 18, 2013

Malaysian Open: Peng Soon-Liu Ying and Aik Quan-Pei Jing in quarter-finals

In good form: Malaysians Tan Aik Quan and Lai Pei Jing in action against
Scotland’s Robert Blair and Jillie Cooper during their second round match. The
homesters won 21-16, 21-18 to enter the last eight. — AZHAR ARIF / The Star In good form: Malaysians Tan Aik Quan and Lai Pei Jing in action against Scotland’s Robert Blair and Jillie Cooper during their second round match. The homesters won 21-16, 21-18 to enter the last eight. — AZHAR ARIF / The Star

IT was a pleasant surprise for Malaysian fans as both Malaysian mixed doubles pairs Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Tan Aik Quan-Lai Pei Jing easily marched into the quarter-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Aik Quan-Pei Ling, the world No. 30, were simply on fire. They smashed their way past Scotland’s Robert Blair-Jillie Cooper 21-16, 21-18 in the second round.

The Malaysians dominated the first game, giving their opponents little room to manoeuvre. They carried the momentum into the second as they took just 31 minutes to seal the win.

“We didn’t think too much about how we played. We just knew that they are a strong pair and we needed to play at our own tempo,” said Pei Jing.

“Thankfully, Cooper didn’t play too well today (yesterday) and we were definitely fortunate to go through. It’s still a breakthrough for us because we’ve never really gotten past the first round previously,” added Pei Jing.

Aik Quan-Pei Jing, who will be making their first-ever quarter-final appearance in a Super Series event, will not have the luck of the draw as they face top seed Peng Soon-Liu Ying next.

“We train with them every day so we know their standard. Hopefully, we’ll give them a good fight,” said Pei Jing.

Aik Quan added that it was also important to play without fear, what more with the places for the World Championships up for grabs.

“A country can send three pairs if all three are in the top 24. We’re definitely hoping to qualify for the World Championships and we need every bit of good result we can get,” said Aik Quan.

“Although my partnership with Pei Jing is still growing and we still lack experience, we’re not going out without a fight.”

In a later match, Peng Soon-Liu Ying, who battled through the first round, endured another tough fight as they were stretched to the limit by Danish pair Mads Pieler Kolding-Kamilla Rytter Juhl before winning 21-19, 18-21, 21-16.

“The draught was totally different compared to yesterday and we had some problems adjusting,” explained Peng Soon. “It was a 50-50 match and we just did enough. Luck was also on our side.”

On their match against Aik Quan-Pei Jing, Peng Soon said: “It will be a different story. Although they’re our juniors, they know our game and tactics so we can’t and won’t go easy against them.”

In other matches, second seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen laboured to a three game win over China’s Qiu Zihan-Zhao Yunlei.

The upset of the day came from Indonesian qualifiers Praveen Jordan-Vita Marissa. They stunned compatriots and third seeds Muhammad Rijal-Debby Susanto 28-26, 20-22, 21-17.

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