PETALING JAYA: The lower-tier independent shuttlers are showing that they too can keep the flag flying for Malaysia on the international stage.
After Yeoh Seng Zoe won the Irish Open two weeks ago, it was unheralded men’s doubles pair Wong Tien Ci-Boon Xin Yuan’s turn to shine when they made it to the semi-finals of the sixth-tier Welsh Open in Cardiff on Friday.
Tien Ci-Xin Yuan, who are playing in just their second tournament together, defeated India’s Ishaan Bhatnagar-K. Sai Pratheek 21-17, 18-21, 21-13 in the last eight.
The win earned them a meeting with former world No. 2 Kim Gi-jung-Kim Sa-rang of South Korea, who have recently reunited and made a comeback to the international scene.
The 22-year-old Xin Yuan will be aiming to reach the final again after having won the seventh-tier Mauritius International with previous partner Yap Qar Siong in 2019.
As for Tien Ci, 23, he is seeking to go one better than his previous best semi-final outing with Razlan Shah Ridzuan Shah at the seventh-tier Malaysian International Series.
There’s a chance for an all-Malaysian final if Tee Kai Wun-Man Wei Chong get past England’s Zach Russ-Rory Easton in the other last-four match.
World No. 69 Kai Wun-Wei Chong secured their sixth semi-final appearance this year after beating another Malaysian independent duo Tan Kok Xian-Tan Yi Han 21-8, 23-21.
Kai Wun-Wei Chong are gunning for their fourth victory after winning the Polish Open in March, Spanish International in June and the recent Irish Open.
The singles competition was also a disappointment as no Malaysians made it through to the last 16.
Scottish Open winner and runner-up Ng Tze Yong and Soong Joo Ven both retired midway through their first-round battles due to injuries.