Last-eight finish in France just the right tonic for Kian Meng-Pei Jing


  • Badminton
  • Monday, 28 Oct 2019

PETALING JAYA: National mixed doubles pair Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing are hoping to reignite their Tokyo Olympics qualification hopes after reaching the French Open quarter-finals for their best result in three months.

The world No. 14 defeated teammates Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Indonesia’s Rinov Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas Mentari in the first two rounds but their run was halted by world No. 1 Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong of China 14-21, 22-20, 12-21 on Friday.

They kicked off the one-year qualifying period in May by making the quarter-finals in the New Zealand Open and semi-finals in the Indonesian Open in July, but failed to build on the solid starts and have been early casualties since then.

Kian Meng is glad that their decent outing in Paris has given them the tonic they need to regroup before going into the last stretch of tournaments before the season concludes.

The pair will be competing in the back-to-back Fuzhou China Open (Nov 5-10) and Hong Kong Open (Nov 12-17) and conclude their World Tour campaign at the Korean Masters (Nov 19-24).

“The competition has been getting tougher lately, so it’s a relief that we managed to reach the quarter-finals in Paris,” said Kian Meng.

“We’re not content with just the last eight, but it’s a significant to us as it has ended our recent string of first-round losses.

“We put up a spirited fight to steal a game from Siwei-Yaqiong and that’s refreshing because we lost tamely to them in our previous two defeats (at Sudirman Cup and Indonesian Open).

“With our confidence restored, Pei Jing and I can now head to China and Hong Kong seeking better results. We hope to put ourselves back in contention for the Tokyo Olympics qualification before the year end.”

Kian Meng-Pei Jing are desperate to make up for their poor results in recent months so they can get close to the world’s top 10.

Currently, world No. 7 Peng Soon-Liu Ying look capable of booking their ticket to Tokyo while compatriots and world No. 11 Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie are in the running too.

A nation can have a maximum of two pairs if both are ranked in the top eight at the end of the qualification period on April 30.

Kian Meng admits it will be a monumental task to break into the top eight with the likes of Seo Seung-jae-Chae Yu-jung of South Korea, Indonesia’s duo Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti and Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja and Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet positioning themselves nicely in the top 10.

“The contest will get even stiffer until next April, and Pei Jing and I will keep up with everyone else,” vowed Kian Meng.

“We are not throwing in the towel just yet, there are a few months more. All we need is 10 good results in the one-year period and if we can get a couple more, we are back on track.

“We are doing well in training and I believe we can translate them into winning performances and good results.”

Kian Meng-Pei Jing have showed what they’re capable of when they brought out their A game by going all the way to the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open in April before emerging as the Singapore Open runners-up.

RESULTS

QUARTER-FINALS

Men’s singles: Anthony Ginting (Ina) bt Kento Momota (Jpn) 21-10, 21-19; Chen Long (Chn) bt Shesar Hiren Rhustavito (Ina) 21-19, 21-12; Jonatan Christie (Ina) bt Anders Antonsen (Den) 17-21, 21-19, 21-16; Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Angus Ng Ka Long (Hkg) 21-17, 21-16.

Men’s doubles: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong (Chn) 23-21, 21-14; Liao Min-chun-Su Ching-heng (Tpe) bt Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) 21-14, 21-15; Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe (Jpn) bt Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (Chn) 21-12, 18-21, 21-9; Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind) bt Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Den) 21-13, 22-20.

Women’s singles: Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe) bt P.V. Sindhu (Ind) 21-16, 24-26, 21-17; Carolina Marin (Spa) bt Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) 21-18, 17-21, 21-14; An Se-young (Kor) bt Saina Nehwal (Ind) 22-20, 23-21; Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) bt He Bingjiao (Chn) 21-13, rtd.

Women’s doubles: Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara (Jpn) bt Liu Xuanxuan-Xia Yuting (Chn) 22-20, 21-17; Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong (Kor) bt Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (Chn) 21-16, 21-21; Lee So-hee-Shin Sheung-chan (Kor) bt Gabriela Stoeva-Stefani Stoeva (Bul) 21-11, 21-6; Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) bt Hsu Ya-ching-Hu Ling-fang (Tpe) 21-11, 21-7.

Mixed doubles: Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (Mas) 21-14, 20-22, 21-12; Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino (Jpn) bt Ben Lane-Jessica Pugh (Eng) 21-17, 20-22, 21-19; Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock (Eng) bt Takuro Hoki-Wakana Nagahara (Jpn) 21-18, 17-21, 21-15; Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti (Ina) bt Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) 21-14, 21-7.

SEMI-FINALS

Men’s singles: Chen Long (Chn) bt Anthony Ginting (Ina) 21-19, 21-18; Jonatan Christie (Ina) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 7-21, 22-20, 21-19.

Men’s doubles: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt Liao Min-chun-Su Ching-heng (Tpe) 21-18, 23-21; Satwiksairaj-Chirag Shetty (Ind) bt Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe (Jpn) 21-11, 25-23.

Women’s singles: An Se-young (Kor) bt Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) 21-17, 23-21; Carolina Marin (Spa) bt Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe) 21-16, 21-9.

Women’s doubles: Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong (Kor) bt Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara (Jpn) 21-15, 16-21, 21-14; Lee So-hee-Shin Sheung-chan (Kor) bt Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) 21-17, 21-16.

Mixed doubles: Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino (Jpn) 21-12, 12-21, 21-16; Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti (Ina) bt Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock (Eng) 21-19, 21-12.


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