RIO DE JANEIRO: Four years ago, Goh Liu Ying-Chan Peng Soon went to the London Olympics but returned home without a single win.
Now, the Malaysian mixed doubles pair are just steps away from winning a medal at the world’s biggest Games in Rio de Janeiro.
On Sunday, the duo created history by becoming the first Malaysian mixed doubles pair to reach the Olympic semi-finals after a 21-17, 21-10 win over world No. 13 Robert Mateusiak-Nadiezda Zieba of Poland at the Riocentro Pavilion 4.
The Malaysians, the world No. 11 and the first Malaysian pair to reach the Olympics in London, were always in front in the first game although it was closely-contested 26-minute battle.
But it was obvious they would win the match as they attacked relentlessly in the second game to win by a comfortable margin in 20 minutes.
It was Liu Ying-Peng Soon’s fourth win in six meetings over the Poles.
They will meet world No. 6 Xu Chen-Ma Jin for a place in the final on Monday. The Chinese beat Ko Sung-hyun-Kim Ha-na of South Korea 21-17, 21-18.
“We were under great pressure. I’m glad we won,” said Peng Soon.
Said Liu Ying: “We have worked a lot on our consistency and combination. In the Olympics, you have to be strong mentally and be confident. We are at that stage. But we are not thinking too far ahead. We just want to take one match at a time and go as far as possible.”
Mixed doubles: Tontowi Ahmad-Lilyana Natsir (Ina) bt Praveen Jordan-Debby Susanto (Ina) 21-16, 21-11; Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying bt Robert Mateusiak-Nadiezda Zieba (Pol) 21-17, 21-10; Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Kenta Kazuno-Ayane Kurihara (Jpn) 21-14, 21-12; Xu Chen-Ma Jin (Chn) bt Ko Sung-hyun-Kim Ha-na (Kor) 21-17, 21-18.