PETALING JAYA: Breaking into the top 10 may not be an issue but mixed doubles pair Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei must start thinking big if they want to establish themselves as one of the elite pairs.
National mixed doubles coach Nova Widianto said they have to reach at least the quarter-final stage of the tournaments (super 500, super 750 and super 100) in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) tour if they want to elevate their position as an elite pair.
Nova added that the current top three – Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong of China, Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino of Japan and another China pair Feng Yanzhe-Huang Dongping – are not within Tang Jie-Ee Wei’s reach but the Malaysian pair are able to challenge the other top 10 pairs.
“Tang Jie-Ee Wei must make the quarter-finals or the semi-finals in each tournament from now on. That is the only way to break into the top 10 and maintain their position there,” said Nova.
“So far, they can challenge many of the top 10 pairs but they are still not at the same level as the top three pairs.
“In order to overcome the top three and also other strong pairs, Tang Jie and Ee Wei must focus on improving their individual skills. By doing so, both will be equally strong and opponents will find it difficult to break their rhythm and confidence.”
The difficult passage will begin with the China Open, which begins in Changzhou tomorrow, which is a super 1000 event and has attracted all the top 10 pairs.
Tang Jie-Ee Wei will meet Indian pair Rohan Kapoor-Sikki Reddy in their opening match and will likely take on either Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo or South Koreans Kim Won-ho-Jeong Na-eun of South Korea for a place in the quarter-finals.
“The draw looks fine for Tang Jie-Ee Wei as they can overcome the Indian pair but they have to work hard against the Koreans,” added Nova.
The Malaysian pair are on a high after reaching the quarter-finals where they lost in straight games to Watanabe-Higashino in Copenhagen last month.
Tang Jie-Ee Wei managed to beat world No. 3 Yan Zhe-Dongping in their only meeting at the Thailand Open first round but the China pair have proven to be consistent, having won the Indonesia and Thailand Masters as well as the Korea, Australia and German Opens this year.
Should Tang Jie-Ee Wei upstage Won-ho-Na-eun, they will be able to gauge themselves against Yanzhe-Dongping in the last eight.