Top seeding a boon but it’s not the top thing on Tang Jie-Ee Wei’s minds

Mixed doubles pair Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei in the training session at Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara on Friday. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Mixed doubles top seeds Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei were not forthright in predicting their title hopes at the Malaysian Masters from May 21-26 but have declared that they are in their best shape for the home tournament.

Thailand’s world No. 6 Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai were initially slated as the favourites but their withdrawal has elevated Tang Jie-Ee Wei to the top spot at the Malaysian Masters.

It will be the first time for the pair to receive top billing in a Badminton World Federation (BWF) world tour events at home but Tang Jie is more confident due to the hard work the duo have gone through for the last few weeks.

Tang Jie said that their solid preparation was the result of the cooperation from all the doubles pairs where even men’s doubles world No. 20 Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun have been sparring with them.

“We have not set targets but we want to win every time we step onto the court. Our training has been very good for the past few weeks and it gives us a lot of confidence,” said Tang Jie.

“The men’s doubles pairs have also helped us in training. Wei Chong-Kai Wun are a very strong pair and it definitely helps us to improve. We appreciative them for helping us in our preparation.

“Being the top seed is just on paper and we don’t want to think too much about it.”

Tang Jie added that their main concern is translating their performance in training during tournaments as this will give them a better chance of winning.

“We always discuss on ways to perform the same way during tournaments and this is always our focus in the Malaysian Masters and in other tournaments,” said Tang Jie.

Based on the draw, world No. 9 Tang Jie-Ee Wei are expected to meet compatriots Tan Kian meng-Lai Pei Jing in the quarter-finals and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie in the last four but a redraw could be announced a day before the tournament on May 20 should be there be more withdrawals.

This is a new change by BWF as the draws are normally released three weeks before tournaments and redraw is only conducted if a big number of players or pairs withdraw from a particular event.

“This is a new change and we have to wait and see if there is a redraw,” said Ee Wei.

“I don’t think it will be a big problem as we have regularly played the top 32 pairs. So we can still adapt if there is a redraw.”

Tang Jie-Ee Wei’s positive approach could help them to go all the way and probably try and end the title drought in the mixed doubles since 2017 where Kian Meng-Pei Jing were the last local pair to the Malaysian Masters mixed doubles title.

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