Axed pair show great pro-mise

Tough customers: South Korea’s Lee Yong-dae (left) and Kim Gi-jung are the quarter-final opponents for Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi in the Malaysian Masters.

FOR independent shuttlers, performing well in tournaments is a matter of “life and death”. Decent results not only bring good prize money but also mean a higher chance of attracting sponsorships.

Newly-turned professionals Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi are well aware of that, and showed their determination to make the cut as professionals with their first win in three meetings against the world No. 11 Chinese pair of Han Cheng Kai-Zhou Haodong.

Just a day earlier, Indonesian veteran Hendra Setiawan claimed that he and his professional partner Mohammad Ahsan had forked out about 1bil rupiah (RM300,000) just for tournament expenses alone last year.

Powered by that determination, world No 19 Yew Sin-Ee Yi outplayed eighth seeds Cheng Kai-Haodong 21-13,21-18 in just 31 minutes to reach the quarter-finals of the Malaysian Masters yesterday.

“It’s extremely important for us to do well now not only in every tournament, but every single match as well, ” said Yew Sin.

“Having just turned professionals, we’re going to need a lot of money to fund our tournament expenses, so we need more sponsorship.

“Hopefully, we can convince more (sponsors) to come on board with some good performances.”

For coaching, Yew Sin-Ee Yi can at least count on former world No. 1 Tan Boon Heong for now.

Ee Yi admitted that having Boon Heong with them played a part in their good run thus far.

“He helped us prepare well for this match by analysing our previous matches against the Chinese pair, ” said Ee Yi.

“He also discussed the best strategy to use and this proved useful for us.”

Yew Sin-Ee Yi had been told to leave the national set-up on Jan 31 but they asked to leave in advance so they could use their new sponsors, equipment manufacturers Li Ning.

They next face a tricky match against Korea’s Kim Gi-jung-Lee Yong-dae in the quarter-finals tomorrow.

The Korean pair themselves sprung a surprise when they beat the Japanese world No. 3 pair of Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda 21-15,21-17 in 40 minutes.

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