Jin Wei survives Ukrainian scare to finally break her first-round jinx


Tough cookie: Singles shuttler Goh Jin Wei had to dig deep into her reserves to beat Ukraine’s Polina Buhrova in the first round of the Malaysian Masters. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Lady Luck has finally smiled on independent women’s singles shuttler Goh Jin Wei after she broke her first-round jinx to storm into the second round of the Malaysian Masters.

World No. 33 Jin Wei survived a scare before defeating world No. 74 Polina Buhrova of Ukraine 21-16, 18-21, 21-14 in the opening round at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

It was her first victory in a World Tour tournament after suffering first-round exits in four consecutive tournaments – the Indonesian Masters in January, French Open (March), All-England (March) and Asia Championships (April).

The furthest she had reached this year was the second round of the Malaysian Open in January, where she went down 15-21, 22-24 to Indonesia’s world No. 9 Gregoria Mariska.

Jin Wei believes that the support and cheers from home fans motivated her to fight harder for every point.

“I’ve always believed that as long as I keep fighting, there’s always a good ending,” said the Paris Olympics-bound Jin Wei.

“It was a good fight (from Buhrova), and I had our fans to thank for that because it was their cheers that inspired me to fight for every point.

“The home ground support I enjoyed definitely played a part in today’s win.”

Jin Wei has a mountain to climb next as she takes on world No. 20 Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand in the last 16 today.

Despite never having beaten the Thai player in their previous three meetings, Jin Wei is eager to face her again, especially since their last encounter was six years ago in the Asia Championships in 2018.

“I am very excited and look forward to meeting Busanan again after so many years,” said the 24-year-old.

“Hopefully, I can deliver something different compared to the last time I played her.”

She, however, did not dwell too much on the past.

“I didn’t think too much about the past as I’m trying to get better each day,” said Jin Wei.

“Who knows, maybe I can play even better than last time.”

Jin Wei is now the country’s sole representative in the women’s singles as K. Letshanaa lost 14-21, 9-21 to China’s world No. 6 Han Yue.

Meanwhile, national No. 1 women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah advanced to the last 16 without breaking a sweat after receiving a walkover from Thailand’s Pichamon Phatcharaphisutsin-Nannapas Sukklad.

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