PETALING JAYA: Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong were never expected to reach the final of the World Championships in Paris 2010 and 12 years later, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik have achieved their breakthrough in an almost identical pattern.
Kien Keat, having gone through the ups and downs with Boon Heong as a top Malaysian pair, has applauded the way Aaron-Wooi Yik have bounced back by playing to their true ability.
Aaron-Wooi Yik have been struggling to win an Open title and their failure to secure the Birmingham Commonwealth Games individual gold recently affected their morale.
Kien Keat said it was refreshing to see them being relaxed in the tournament.
Aaron-Wooi Yik overcame Commonwealth Games champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty of India 20-22, 21-18, 21-16 to reach the final.
They will be playing Indonesian veterans Hendra Setiawan-Mohammad Ahsan in the title-match today.
“They weren’t thinking too much about results and were focusing on playing to their true ability,” said Kien Keat.
“This refreshing approach has been working for them in Tokyo. They concentrated on winning every point, not thinking whether it was the quarter-finals or last four.
“They were focused on their performance and executed their game plan well. They should approach the final in the same way.
“Hendra and Ahsan are an ageing pair and this should give Aaron-Wooi Yik an advantage.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong defied the odds to reach the final only to be denied by China legends Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng.
They played well where they won the first game 21-18 but started making mistakes in their haste to win the title. Cai Yun-Haifeng recovered and came from behind to win it.
“Our situation was the same where nobody expected us to go far with Lee Chong Wei having already lost (in the last eight). But we managed to make the final,” added Kien Keat.
“I was playing well but at 18-18 in the second game, I started thinking about the title and made mistakes at the crucial stage. Aaron-Wooi Yik should avoid such thoughts.”
Boon Heong believes Aaron-Wooi Yik have a good chance in the final as physically, they will have the edge.
“It’s a good chance as they have the edge in terms of fitness and speed. With the right strategy, it can be done,” said Boon Heong.