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Smashing spoilers


Impressive feat: Arif Abdul Latif (left) and Azriyn Ayub beat compatriots Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik 21-15, 21-18 in the quarter-finals of the Vietnam Open in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday.

Impressive feat: Arif Abdul Latif (left) and Azriyn Ayub beat compatriots Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik 21-15, 21-18 in the quarter-finals of the Vietnam Open in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday.

PETALING JAYA: Former national doubles pair Arif Abdul Latif-Azriyn Ayub halted the hot run of up and coming juniors Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik with a straight-games win to reach the Vietnam Open men’s doubles semi-finals in Ho Chi Minh City.

Top seeds Aaron-Wooi Yik were on a high after their surprising last- eight finish at the World Cham­pionships in Nanjing, China, last week.

It also saw them jump up nine places in the latest world rankings to 26th in the world on Thursday and the duo were looking to move higher up with a strong finish in this tournament.

However, Arif-Azriyn, who lifted the Russian Open last month, spoiled the party by beating Aaron-Wooi Yik 21-15, 21-18 in 29 minutes.

“We are pleased we can beat them (Aaron-Soh). I think they were under pressure. We hardly made any mistakes today.

“We put more pressure on them and they couldn’t find their rhythm, which made it easy for us to take advantage of that.

“Our confidence level now is good because we trained enough and our coach has kept us focused on our programme to achieve our targets for this year.

“We are expecting another tough match in the semi-finals but we will focus on that,” said Arif.

The pair will take on either South Koreans Ko Sung-hyun-Shin Baek-cheol or Japan’s Keiichiro Matsui-Yoshinori Takeuchi in the semi-finals today.

Ho Yen Mei’s good run in the women’s singles came to an end after she lost in the quarter-finals against Han Yue of China.

Yen Mei took the first game but couldn’t keep the momentum and eventually fell 22-20, 15-21, 11-21 after fighting for nearly an hour.

The 22-year-old stunned top seed and world No. 10 Sayaka Takahashi of Japan in the second round earlier where she held her nerves to win in three games.

It was still a good outing for Yen Mei as it’s only her second tournament since returning from a foot injury that saw her sidelined for nearly six months.

She claimed the Russian Open title in her first comeback tournament.

   

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