KUALA LUMPUR: Ho Yen Mei is looking to end her one-year title drought at the Malaysia International Challenge in Kota Kinabalu.
At the Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex on Saturday, the fifth seed shuttler Yen Mei fended off a strong challenge from compatriot Soniia Cheah before prevailing with 21-11, 18-21, 21-14 in the women’s singles semi-finals.
The 20-year-old will take on unseeded Sayaka Takahashi of Japan for the title on Sunday.
Yen Mei, who won at the Polish International Series in September last year, said she wanted a title as a parting gift for her coach Wong Tat Meng.
National women’s singles coach Tat Meng will be starting his new job as the head coach of Scotland on Jan 9.
“It is good to be in the final again after so long,” said world No. 54 Yen Mei.
“I hope to win a title before the year ends. And it will be my way of thanking coach Wong.”
Yen Mei admitted that the showdown against Sayaka would not be easy.
“She was once ranked as high as 11th in the world (in 2014) and is back on the rise again. I will have to be wary of her,” she added.
Malaysia’s R. Satheishtharan continued his fairytale run in Kota Kinabalu when he outplayed Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon 22-20, 20-22, 21-16 to reach the men’s singles final.
He will be out for revenge when he takes on Panji Ahmad Maulana. Satheishtharan lost to the Indonesian in the first round of the Victor International Challenge in Semarang last week.
Malaysia will also be challenging for titles in three other events – Chooi Kah Ming-Low Juan Shen (men’s doubles), Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (women’s doubles) and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (mixed doubles).
Men’s singles: R. Satheishtharan (Mas) bt Suppanyu Avihingsanon (Tha) 22-20, 20-22, 21-16; Panji Ahmad Maulana (Ina) bt Pannawit Thongnum (Tha) 21-10, 16-21, 21-8.
Men’s doubles: Chooi Kah Ming-Low Juan Shen (Mas) bt Taiki Shimada-Yoshinori Takeuchi (Jpn) 21-17, 23-21; Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han (Tpe) bt Mohd Arif Abdul Latif-Watchara Buranakuea (Mas-Tha) 21-12, 21-14.
Women’s singles: Ho Yen Mei (Mas) bt Soniia Cheah (Mas) 21-11, 18-21, 21-14, Sayaka Takahashi (Jpn) bt Fitriani Fitriani (Ina) 21-15, 21-10.
Women’s doubles: Jiang Binbin-Tang Pinyang (Chn) bt Amelia Ancelly-Teoh Mei Xing (Mas) 17-21, 21-18, 21-16; Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (Mas) bt Ayaka Sakuramoto-Yukiko Takahata (Jpn) 23-21, 14-21, 21-15.
Mixed doubles: Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (Mas) bt Tan Wee Gieen-Peck Yen Wei (Mas) 21-19, 21-14; Yang Po-hsuan-Wen Hai-yun (Tpe) bt Alvin Morada-Alyssa Yasbel Leonardo (Phi) 21-13, 21-18.