It’s never comfortable when friends become foes

KUALA LUMPUR: Life is such that friends can become foes.

That’s the predicament faced by Malaysia’s top mixed doubles badminton pairs Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie.

As fate would have it, they have been drawn to face each other in the first round of next week’s Indonesian Open in Jakarta and barring any upsets, they may also meet in the Malaysian Open starting today.

If both pairs win in the home tournament today, they would clash in the second round.

World No. 22 Peng Soon-Liu Ying take on Wang Chi-lin-Lee Chia-hsin of Taiwan while world No. 6 Soon Huat-Shevon have Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai to deal with.

While many would view this as an opportunity for Peng Soon-Liu Ying to reclaim their bragging rights as the best mixed doubles pair in the country, Peng Soon said he did not fancy the idea of competing against teammates.

“I’m not looking forward to an all-Malaysian affair, especially in the early rounds. I guess, it’s the same for my teammates too,” said Peng Soon after a practice session at the venue yesterday.

“We represent the country rather than ourselves and meeting each other makes it quite uncomfortable. We tend to be more fired up when we take on foreign opponents.

“But it’s good if Malaysian representatives meet each other in the semi-finals, or final,” added Peng Soon, who came close to winning the Malaysian Open with Liu Ying twice in 2013 and 2016 but lost in the finals.

But first, Peng Soon would rather focus on today’s first round.

Peng Soon and Liu Ying have a score to settle after losing to the world No. 10 Chi-Lin-Chia-hsin in the last eight of New Zealand Open in April this year.

World No. 14 Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing are the other mixed doubles pair in the fray this week. They will take on world No. 27 Li Yinhui-Zhang Nan of China today.

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