PETALING JAYA: The fairy tale run of independent shuttlers Chooi Kah Ming-Low Juan Shen ended at the Korean Open but there were plenty of positives to take back home.
Japan’s world No. 13 Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe denied Kah Ming-Juan Shen their first final appearance in 13 months since the Russian Open last year, taking only 29 minutes to triumph 21-13, 21-12 in yesterday’s semi-final clash.
After overcoming several higher-ranked opponents including world No. 15 Liao Mun-chun-Su Ching-heng of Taiwan, Kah Ming-Juan Shen were unable to reproduce same rhythm against Endo-Watanabe.
After going down tamely in the opening game, the world No. 75 began promisingly in the second game by racing to a 4-2 lead, but could not make any headway against their Japanese rivals who went on to reach their third final this season.
Endo-Watanabe, who finished runners-up at the Malaysian Open and Thailand Open, will be hoping to be third time lucky when they take on compatriots Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi in the title decider today.
Ampang Jaya Badminton Club (AJBC) head coach Ho Khek Mong was singing praises of Kah Ming-Juan Shen. It was the duo’s first tournament under the banner of the professional club.
“One tournament is all that was needed to prove us right in recruiting them,” said Khek Mong.
“Juan Shen is 24 and Kah Ming is 27 and they have time to achieve more. I personally think they still have plenty to offer and AJBC want to help them exploit their potential.
“Most Malaysian players are late bloomers, Kah Ming-Juan Shen are no exception. Given the proper guidance and support, the future is bright for them in the coming two years.”
Khek Mong revealed that their plan was for Juan Shen-Kah Ming to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
“We didn’t include them to make up the numbers.
“We’ve set an ambitious goal of bringing them to top 15 in the world and hopefully to qualify for major tournaments,” he explained.
“Realistically, we are targeting them to qualify for next year World Championships. Then, it will be Tokyo Olympics.”
In the men’s singles, former world No. 3 Tommy Sugiarto stunned compatriot and Asian Games gold medal winner Jonatan Christie 21-13, 22-20 to set up a meeting against Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen.
Tien-chen, the Asiad silver medallist, downed Kenta Nishimoto of Japan 19-21, 21-18, 21-14 in the other semi-finals.
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