Last-eight loss won’t derail Tang Jie-Ee Wei from track to World Tour Finals

PETALING JAYA: Shuttlers Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei (pic) remained on track to qualify for the mixed doubles competition in the World Tour Finals in Hangzhou from Dec 13-17 despite exiting the Japan Masters at the quarter-final stage.

World No. 10 Tang Jie-Ee Wei had lost 14-21, 14-21 to China’s world No. 1 Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong in Kumamoto on Friday.

The defeat, though, will not put a serious dent on Tang Jie-Ee Wei’s chances of making the cut for the prestigious season-ending Finals as they are still ranked eighth in the Race to Hangzhou rankings.

Only the top eight will qualify and the pair’s consistent form throughout the year has put them in a good position to make their debuts in the competition.

Qualifying for the Finals will be a huge achievement for Tang Jie-Ee Wei as they had only been paired together last December.

National mixed doubles coach Nova Widianto now wants his charges to produce a good showing in the China Masters in Shenzhen next week and seal their spot in the top eight.

“Tang Jie-Ee Wei still have a great chance to qualify for the Tour Finals,” said Nova.

“I hope they do well in the China Masters to get the ranking points they need to maintain their spot in the Race to Finals rankings.”

On the pair’s defeat to Siwei-Yaqiong in Kumamoto, Nova said: “They tend to lack confidence when playing against the top pairs.

“They are only confident when they are leading during the match but lose their belief when the opponents overtake them.

“If they want to reach the top, they need to be mentally stronger.

“It’s very obvious that there is not much difference in terms of game play between them and pairs like Siwei-Yaqiong but mentally they need to improve.”

It was Tang Jie-Ee Wei’s third consecutive loss to the Chinese duo after also coming out second best in the Japan Open in July and Asian Games last month.

Siwei-Yaqiong could stand in the former’s way again in the quarter-finals of the China tourney as they have both been placed in the top half of the draw.

Tang Jie-Ee Wei, though, first need to overcome Indonesia’s world No. 15 Rinov Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas and another Chinese pair, world No. 6 Jiang Zhenbang-Wei Yaxin in the opening two rounds.

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