PETALING JAYA: Goh Liu Ying has allayed fears over her recent knee injury by superbly combining with Chan Peng Soon to reach quarter-finals of the mixed doubles event at the All-England badminton championships.
The Rio Olympic silver medallists halted the hot run of Zhang Nan-Li Yinhui of China by pulling off a spectacular 9-21, 23-21, 21-17 win at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Thursday.
It was their first win over world No. 14 Zhang Nan-Yinhui in four meetings, having also lost a closely-fought quarter-final in last week’s German Open.
World No. 8 Peng Soon-Liu Ying’s win ended the China shuttlers’ unbeaten run since December, when they won the Macau Open. Zhang Nan-Yinhui also bagged the Thailand Masters (January) and German Open (last week).
“We struggled to find our rhythm in the first game. We were lucky to escape in the second. But we did really well to step up in the decider,” said Liu Ying, who had to take three stem-cell jabs to quell the pain on her knee in January.
“I tend to appreciate the game more after every injury ... that makes me go all out.”
Peng Soon-Liu Ying will face China’s world No. 83 Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping, who dumped top seeds and world No. 1 Zheng Siwei-Chenchen 24-22, 21-15 in the second round.
And Liu Ying, the iron lady of Malaysian badminton, has promised to keep the momentum going.
“Our next opponents are unseeded, but they have beaten the favourites. If we play with the right mentality, we can go beyond the semis for the first time at the All-England,” said Liu Ying, whose best achievement with Peng Soon at the All-England was a semi-final appearance in 2012.
It was also a great day for top seeds and Rio Olympic silver medallists Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, who stormed into the men’s doubles quarter-finals with a 21-12, 21-16 win over China’s Liu Xiaolong-Xu Chen.
The world No. 1 Malaysians will take on fifth seeds Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen of China next.
There was no such luck for Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo (women’s doubles) and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (mixed doubles) after they went down to South Korean opponents.
The men’s singles form book was torn apart on Thursday when reigning Olympic champion Chen Long of China and second seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark were sent packing in the second round.
Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensonboonsuk upset Chen Long 21-16, 21-19 while Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai, who defeated Jorgensen 21-16, 21-13.
In the quarter-finals, Tanongsak will face Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen while Kazumasa will take on China’s Shi Yuqi.
Five-time world champion Lin Dan of China defeated compatriot Huang Yuxiang 21-16, 21-11 to set up a re-match against Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.
The Chinese shuttler lost to Axelsen in the Rio Olympic bronze medal playoff.