PETALING JAYA: National women’s singles shuttler Ho Yen Mei (pic) is on a roll.
The 22-year old held her nerves and pulled off a spectacular show to stun top seed Sayaka Takahashi of Japan 21-17, 11-21, 21-19 for a place in the women’s singles quarter-finals of the Vietnam Open in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday.
World No. 112 Yen Mei, who won the Russian Open title last month, showed she was not intimidated by the world No. 10 Takahashi although she had lost to the Japanese once at the Malaysia International Challenge in 2016.
The Japanese too has been in fine form having bagged two titles in the Singapore Open and Akita Masters last month but she just couldn’t get past a fired-up Yen Mei in the final game.
It was Yen Mei’s first win against a top 10 player since coming back from a foot injury early this year.
National women’s singles coach Datuk Tey Seu Bock was happy with Yen Mei’s progress and hoped she could maintain her performance especially after returning from the foot injury.
“This is only her second tournament after being out for five to six months, so to upset the first seed is good,” said Seu Bock.
“It is more than enough as long as she can maintain her performance and condition.”
And the road ahead for Yen Mei is not any easier as she goes up against China’s Han Yue, who is ranked 37th in the world.
Yen Mei is the sole Malaysian women’s singles left in the tournament after teammates Lim Yin Fun and Lee Ying Ying failed to move on.
Yin Fun could not upset another Japanese when she crashed out against second seed Minatsu Mitani 16-21, 10-21 while Ying Ying lost to Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan 15-21, 11-21 yesterday.
In the men’s doubles, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik overcame a setback in the first game to defeat Taiwan’s Lin Yong-sheng-Su Li-wei 15-21, 22-20, 21-14 for a place in the quarter-final.
The pair jumped up nine places in the world ranking to No. 26 yesterday following their quarter-final finish in the World Championships in Nanjing last week.
But it was the end of the road for Malaysia in the women’s doubles as Anna Cheong-Desiree Siow fell to Japan’s Misato Aratama-Akane Wantanabe 6-21, 14-21.
Malaysia’s only remaining player in the men’s singles competition - Chong Wei Feng failed to keep the nation’s flag flying after losing to Zhou Zeqi of China in the third round.
The sixth seeded 31-year-old won the first game but failed to finish off the match as he lost 10-21, 21-12, 21-18 to world No. 114 Zhou.
It was the same story in the mixed doubles when Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei suffered a defeat at the hands of Indonesians Alfian Eko Prasetya-Marsheilla Gischa Ilami 16-21, 16-21 in the second round.
(Malaysians unless stated)
Men’s doubles: Dai Enyi-Feng Yanzhe (Chn) bt Tan Boon HeongYoo Yeon-seong (Mas-Kor) 21-18, 0-0, (rtd); Lin Shang Kai-Tseng Min Hao (Tpe) bt Shia Chun Kang-Tan Wee Gien 21-17, 15-21, 21-14; Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik bt Lin Yong-sheng-Su Li-wei (Tpe) 15-21, 22-20, 21-14; Arif Abdul Latif-Azriyn Ayub bt Nipitphon Phuangphuapet-Nanthakarn-Yordphaisong (Tha) 21-17, 21-16; Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin bt Inkarat Apisuk-Tanupat Viriyangkura (Tha) 21-7, 22-20
Women’s singles: Ho Yen Mei by Sayaka Takahashi (Jpn) 21-17, 11-21, 21-19; Phittayaporn Chaiwan (Tha) bt Lee Ying Ying 21-15, 21-11; Minatsu Mitani (Jpn) bt Lim Yin Fun 21-16, 21-10.
Women’s doubles: Misato Aratama-Akane Watanabe (Jpn) bt Anna Cheong-Desiree Siow 21-6, 21-14 Mixed doubles: Rinov Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas Mentari (Ina) bt Arif Abdul Latif-Rusydina Antardayu Riodingin (Mas-Ina) 22-20, 14-21, 21-8; Alfian Eko Prasetya-Marsheilla Gischa Islami (Ina) bt Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei 21-16, 21-16.
Men’s singles: Zhou Zeqi (Chn) bt Chong Wei Feng 10-21, 21-12, 21-18.