Yew Sin-Ee Yi back in contention after gritty win over Koreans

Fighting on: Teo Ee Yi (left) and Ong Yew Sin kept their chance alive in the World Tour Finals by beating Choi Sol-gyu and Kim Won-ho.

PETALING JAYA: Men’s doubles Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi battled their way back into contention for a last four berth in the World Tour Finals when they overcame South Koreans Choi Sol-gyu-Kim Won-ho in Bangkok yesterday.

The independent pair were facing a must-win situation after their opening Group A defeat to Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi of Japan and lived dangerously in both games before securing a 21-17, 23-21 win against Sol-gyu-Won-ho.

Yew Sin-Ee Yi played positively to take a 20-12 lead in the first game, only to concede five points in a row but still won 21-17.

In the second, the Koreans saved three match points at 20-17 to draw level and saved a fourth match point at 21-20 before allowing Yew Sin-Ee Yi to snatch victory.

Indonesians Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto are virtually through to the last four after beating Hoki-Kobayashi 21-18, 21-15.

Ee Yi said they almost fell into the trap of following the opponents’ rhythm when they were at match point in the second game.

“Quite an exciting win. I think we started playing to their strength at 20-17 when they changed the game by jabbing and pushing (returns low) but we reverted to our original game plan at 20-20. We kept pushing ourselves,” said Ee Yi.

“Yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) defeat (against Hoki-Kobayashi) was a learning experience. I wanted to win so much that it put us under a lot of pressure.

“We didn’t want to give ourselves too much pressure today and we are happy to win. But I will be happier if we can win again tomorrow (today).”

Yew Sin also said the level of the competition were high.

“We can’t go in thinking of getting a big lead in every game because there are no easy opponents. So, we need to focus on winning each point,” said Yew Sin.

Yew Sin-Ee Yi, ranked eighth in the world, still have a mountain to climb against world No. 3 Fajar-Rian today as the Malaysians have only beaten the Indonesian pair twice in eight meetings.

Their last meeting was at the Denmark Open semi-finals in Odense in October. Fajar-Rian won 21-16, 22-20.

World champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik failed to book a ticket to the semi-finals after losing 21-23, 24-22, 16-21 to China’s Liu Yuchen-Ou Xuanyi.

Meanwhile, French Open champions Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah’s chances of advancing to the semi-finals look gloomy after their second defeat 13-21, 15-21 in women’s doubles Group B to world champions Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan of China yesterday.

National doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky said the match would have given a clear indication to Pearly-Thinaah where they stand against the top pair.

The Malaysians, who lost in straight games (23-21, 21-19) to Indonesians Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadia Ramadhanti on Wednesday, still have a mathematical chance of making it to the last four but must overcome another strong Chinese pair Zhang Shuxian-Zheng Yu today.

Shuxian-Zheng Yu overcame Apriyani-Fadia 21-14, 21-19 yesterday to keep the group open although Qingchen-Yifan are virtually through with two wins in Group B.

Meanwhile, independent pair Vivian Hoo-Lim Chiew Sien’s campaign ended after they suffered a 21-9, 21-12 thrashing by Benyapa Aimsaard-Nuntakarn Aimsaard of Thailand in Group A.

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