The world No. 9 were the top seeds in the absence of many high-ranked pairs, but their campaign came to a disappointing end on Friday when they failed to live up to their billing and were beaten 18-21, 18-21 in the quarter-finals by Kim Sa-rang-Kim Ha-na of South Korea.
Winning the Spain Masters could have sent them to the top eight of the Race to Tokyo rankings. The eighth spot is now occupied by Indonesia’s Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja, who were absent from this week’s tournament.
Soon Huat-Shevon are currently 10th in the Race to Tokyo rankings and need to crack the top eight by the April 30 qualification deadline if they are to make their Olympic debut.
There’s still plenty to play for but they have just two months to make the cut, starting with the back-to-back German Open (March 5-8) and All-England (March 11-15).
They will also compete in the the Malaysian Open, Singapore Open and Asian Badminton Championships in April.
Compatriots Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying are in seventh spot and the only way for Soon Huat-Shevon to get into the Olympics is to battle their way into the top eight. A nation can send a maximum of two pairs for the Tokyo Games only if both are ranked in the top eight.
Meanwhile, in the women’s doubles, world No. 15 Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean turned out to be a big letdown in Spain.
They were sent packing by England’s Chloe Birch-Lauren Smith 21-15, 14-21, 19-21. The defeat had little impact on their Olympic hopes but Mei Kuan-Meng Yean are under pressure to deliver some good showings after suffering a dip in form since last year.
They also failed to deliver a single point as first doubles at the Asia Team Championships in Manila.
The biggest disappointment came when they lost to lower-ranked Hsu Ya-ching-Hu Ling-fang in Malaysia’s 3-1 victory over Taiwan in the quarter-finals.
Independent singles shuttler Liew Daren and men’s doubles duo Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik are the only Malaysian survivors in Barcelona.
Daren’s gallant run continued as he defeated Rasmus Gemke 16-21, 21-17, 21-17 to set up a semi-final clash against top seed Viktor Axelsen while Aaron-Wooi Yik followed suit by triumphing 21-18, 21-13 over Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss-Marvin Seidel.
Men’s singles: Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Jan O Jorgensen (Den) 21-8, 21-5; Liew Daren (Mas) bt Rasmus Gemke (Den) 16-21, 21-17, 21-17; Ajay Jayaram (Ind) bt Thomas Rouxel (Fra) 21-14, 21-15; Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Tha) bt Sameer Verma (Ind) 17-21, 21-17, 21-12.
Men’s doubles: Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin (Tpe) bt Liao Min-chun-Su Ching-heng (Tpe) 21-12, 21-18; Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han (Tpe) bt Gregory Mairs-Tom Wolfenden (Eng) 21-15, 21-14; Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Den) bt Lee Jhe-huei-Yang Po-hsuan (Tpe) 21-11, 21-12; Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (Mas) bt Mark Lamsfuss-Marvin Seidel (Ger) 21-18, 21-13.
Women’s singles: Carolina Marin (Spa) bt Phittayaporn Chaiwan (Tha) 21-18, 21-12; Supanida Katethong (Tha) bt Chiang Ying-li (Tpe) 21-19, 16-21, 21-17; Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Tha) bt Saina Nehwal (Ind) 22-20, 21-19; Pornpawee Chochuwong (Tha) bt Nelishan Yigit (Tur) 22-20, 21-9.
Women’s doubles: Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu (Ina) bt Hsu Ya-ching-Hu Ling-fang (Tpe) 20-22, 21-11, 21-19; Chloe Birch-Lauren Smith (Eng) bt Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean 15-21, 21-14, 21-19; Gabriela Stoeva-Stefani Stoeva (Bul) bt Linda Efler-Isabel Hettrich (Ger) 21-8, 21-10; Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai (Tha) bt Selena Piek-Cheryl Seinen (Ned) 21-13, 27-25.
Mixed doubles: Kim Sa-rang-Kim Ha-na (Kor) bt Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (Mas) 21-18, 21-18; Mathias Bay-Smidt-Rikke Soby (Den) bt Vladimir Ivanov-Ekaterina Bolotova (Rus) 21-23, 26-24, 21-12; Yang Po-hsuan-Hu Ling-fang (Tpe) bt Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith (Eng) 21-17, 22-20; Thom Gicquel-Delphine Delrue (Fra) bt Lee Jhe-huei-Hsu Ya-ching (Tpe) 17-21, 21-18, 21-19.
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