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Sunday January 20, 2013
MALAYSIAN OPEN BADMINTON CHAMPIONSHIPSPUTRA STADIUM, BUKIT JALIL (Jan 15-20)
MIXED doubles top seeds Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying survived a massive scare before progressing into the final of the Maybank Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying struggled initially before overcoming Poland’s Robert Mateusiak-Nadiezda Zieba 12-21, 21-18, 21-16 in the semi-finals.
They will now bid to become the first pair in 50 years to win a home mixed doubles title in the Malaysian Open since its inception in 1937 when they take on Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen in the final.
The last mixed doubles pair to win the title was Tan Aik Huang-Teoh Siew Yong in 1963.
No pair has ever came close to that feat since and it is certainly a breakthrough for Peng Soon-Liu Ying, who felled in the semi-finals last year.
They have previously won a title in Malaysia – the Malaysian Open GP Gold last year in Johor but it was a smaller scale tournament.
Yesterday, despite being cheered on by a vociferous home crowd, Peng Soon-Liu Ying was all jitters in the first game and made a string of unforced errors as the Poles took the initiative.
They were then staring at defeat after trailing 14-16 in the second game.
Fortunately, they woke up from their slumber to turn the game around before taking charge in the rubber game to seal a historic win.
Liu Ying later admitted that the huge home support initially got to them causing them to lose the first game.
“While it was really nice to see the crowd, I was really caught by surprise at the number of people who were cheering us on. Its something we’re not used to,” said Liu Ying.
“Thus in the first game, I was simply too nervous and was making a lot of unnecessary mistakes. It didn’t help that our opponents got comfortable playing against us.
“But I’m really happy that we managed to pull through because we badly want to win this tournament. It will definitely be a better feeling than winning the Japan Open last year,” added Liu Ying.
Meanwhile, Peng Soon added that they will have to be extra careful against Nielsen-Pedersen who play well in big matches and will be a tough opponent.
The Danes who appeared lethargic throughout the tournament finally found their form to end the fine run of Indonesian qualifiers Praveen Jordan-Vita Marissa, winning 21-14, 21-17.
“It was a tough match nonetheless. The Indonesians are a good pair and we had to rely on all our experience to pull through,” said Nielsen.
Pedersen, meanwhile, added that it will be tough playing Peng Soon-Liu Ying in front of their home crowd and they will need to be at their best.
“Well I thought the crowd love us don’t they?” jested Pedersen.
“Either way, we’ll have to find the extra energy for the final,” she added.
In women’s doubles, second seeds, Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi of Japan powered past Shinta Mulia Sari-Yao Lei of Singapore 22-20, 21-14 to set up a showdown with China’s Bao Yixin-Tian Qing.
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