PETALING JAYA: The pressure is still on national men’s doubles shuttlers Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik to win their first-ever badminton title together as a pair, but their latest win will temporarily silence their doubters.
The youngsters fought back from a dismal first game to upset world No. 5 pair Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto of Indonesia 13-21,21-18,21-16 in the second round of the Fuzhou China Open yesterday.
It was their biggest career win to date as world No. 14 pair Aaron-Wooi Yik have never taken down a top-five pair before.
Fajar-Alfian were also semi-finalists at the World Championships in Switzerland in August before lifting the Korean Open title last month.
The win sets the Malaysians up for a much desired clash against another Indonesian pair, three-time and reigning world champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan, in the quarter-finals today.
Aaron-Wooi Yik have lost to the world No. 2 in their last four meetings but what rankles most is the defeat at the All-England in March. Ahsan-Setiawan came back from a game down 11-21,21-14,21-12 to beat the Malaysians in the final and lift the title.
While Aaron-Wooi Yik continued their challenge yesterday, it was the end of the road for their fellow men’s doubles teammates Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani who gave world No. 4 pair Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda a run for their money before going down 20-22,18-21 in a tense 47 minutes.
Besides Aaron-Wooi Yik, mixed doubles pairs Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie and women’s double pair Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean put on impressive displays to enter the quarter-finals.
For Mei Kuan-Meng Yean, the win over Russian pair Ekaterina Bolotova-Alina Davletova will come as a huge relief as it is their first appearance in the last eight after falling out in the early rounds of their last 11 outings.
They found the breakthrough they have been looking for, defeating a top 10 pair for the first time when they downed Indonesia’s world No. 8 Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu 21-19,21-16 in the first round.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying overcame Dutch pair Robin Tabeling-Selina Piek 21-18,21-13 while Soon Huat-Shevon were 23-21,21-13 winners over Indonesians Rinoy Rivaldy-Pitha Mentari.
Men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia’s highly anticipated rematch with world No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan came to a sudden end midway into the second game as the Malaysian succumbed to illness.
“I woke up this morning not feeling well. I came down with a fever and had food poisoning. I hope I will be able to recover quickly and prepare for the Hong Kong Open next week, ” said Zii Jia.
Soniia Cheah’s opening elation when she beat world No. 4 Akane Yamaguchu turned into disappointment when she was stopped 14-21,10-21 by Michelle Lee, her Canadian nemesis.
SECOND ROUND RESULTS
Men’s singles: Rasmus Gemke (Den) bt Shi Yuqi (Chn) 21-10, rtd; Anders Antonsen (Den) bt B. Sai Praneeth (Ind) 22-20,20-22,21-16; Kento Momota (Jpn) bt Lee Zii Jia (Mas) 21-9,11-3, rtd; Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt P. Kashyap (Ind) 21-13,21-19; Lu Guangzu (Chn) bt Chen Long (Chn) 21-10,10-21,21-13; Chou Tien-chen (Tpe) bt Kenta Nishimoto (Jpn) 21-16,21-19; Angus Ng Ka Long (Hkg) bt Jan O Jorgensen (Den) 21-17,21-15; Jonatan Christie (Ina) bt Lee Cheuk Yiu (Hkg) 21-8,12-21,21-14.
Men’s doubles: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt He Jiting-Tan Qiang (Chn) 16-21,21-11,21-16; Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (Chn) bt Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han (Tpe) 25-23,21-9; Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) bt Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani (Mas) 22-20,21-18; Mark Lamsfuss (Ger) bt Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong (Chn) 21-17,21-18; Marcus Ellis-Chris Langridge (Eng) bt Huang Kaixiang-Liu Cheng (Chn) 21-19,21-19; Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina) bt Ou Xuanyi-Zhang Nan (Chn) 11-21,21-18,30-29; Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (Mas) bt Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto (Ina) 13-21,21-18,21-16; Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind) bt Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe (Jpn) 21-18,21-23,21-11.
(Matches involving Malaysians only)
Women’s singles: Michelle Li (Can) bt Soniia Cheah 21-14,21-10.
Women’s doubles: Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean bt Ekaterina Bolotova-Alina Davletova (Rus) 21-17,21-12.
Mixed doubles: Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying bt Robin Tabeling-Selina Piek (Ned) 21-18,21-13; Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie Rinoy Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas Mentari (Ina) 23-21,21-13; Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (Mas) 21-12,21-17.