Aaron-Soh show more courage to become nation’s top performers

Never say die: Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik overcame China’s Liu Yuchen-Ou Xuanyi 21-10, 15-21, 21-14 in the quarter-finals. — Badminton Photo

PETALING JAYA: It pays to be bolder and mentally stronger.

These are the marked improvements that have made the difference for men doubles shuttlers Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik to achieve another good run in the World Championships.

On Friday, the defending champions overcame a significant hurdle when they defeated China’s world No. 7 Liu Yuchen-Ou Xuanyi for the first time in four meetings.

Despite the huge odds against the towering Chinese duo, world No. 4 Aaron-Wooi Yik rose to the occasion magnificently to come away with a brilliant 21-10, 15-21, 21-14 win in 50 minutes at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen.

They face South Koreans and world No. 6 Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae, who are playing in their first world meet as a pair.

On the key to breaking their duck against the Chinese pair, Aaron said: “I think the most important things are our focus, mental preparation and bravery on court.

“We usually don’t perform well when we think too much whether we will win or lose the match.

In a fast-paced game, Aaron-Wooi Yik started strongly and dominated the first game from beginning to end, never allowing Yuchen and Xuanyi much room to execute their dangerous smashes.

In the second game, the Chinese pair fought back to get the upper hand and successfully dragged the latter into a third and deciding game.

Aaron-Wooi Yik faced a real examination of their character in the decider and could have crumbled under pressure, especially when trailing 2-5.

Instead the duo stood tall and refused to give in to their opponents and played aggressively to take over the lead at 11-9 and never looked back from then on.

“Aaron and I have been really working hard in this tournament. We struggled in the first round and we tried to come back confidently,” said Wooi Yik.

“We try to forget about our past losses and try to improve. We are definitely getting better and better.

“We have done well so far in this tournament and our mission is not complete.”

Aaron was also pumped up after the morale-boosting win.

“We are more motivated and excited after this win,” said Aaron.

Last year, Aaron-Wooi Yik became the first Malaysian shuttlers to win a world title after defeating Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia in the final.

Ahsan-Hendra went down 19-21, 17-21 to Min-hyuk-Seung-jae in the quarter-finals.

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