KUALA LUMPUR: It was a good day for the doubles department when three pairs – Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying – marched into the quarter-finals of the French Open in Paris.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong, determined to prove that they are still the country’s best, defeated Germany’s Michael Fuchs-Johannes Schoettler of Ger-many 21-19, 21-19 in the second round yesterday.
They will take on surprise quarter-finalists Chris Adcock-Andrew Ellis of England, who stunned South Koreans Kim Sa-rang-Kim Ki-jung 22-20, 19-21, 21-18.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong have never beaten the Koreans in four previous meetings but have a good record against the Englishmen.
Today, Malaysia’s second ranked men’s doubles pair of Thien How-Wee Kiong will have a chance, albeit a slim one, to reach their first semi-finals in a Super Series event this year.
They have set up a meeting with reigning Denmark Open champions Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yong-sung of South Korea in the quarter-finals after clearing the first two rounds in contrasting fashion.
They dug themselves out of trouble with a 21-19, 18-21, 21-15 win over Adam Cwalina-Przemyslaw Wacha of Poland in the first round but performed much better for a 21-18, 21-18 triumph over Hong Kong’s Chan Yun Lei-Lee Chun Hei.
Yong-dae-Yong-sung, who are eyeing their second title in only their second tournament together, ended the gallant run of Thailand’s Manee-pong Jongjit-Nipitphon Puang-puapech with a convincing 21-16, 21-12 win.
It was Maneepong’s first international tournament after serving a three-month ban for a brawl with former partner Bodin Issara at the Canada Open in April.
Today, the odds are stacked against Thien How-Wee Kiong but an upset win will justify their status as the country’s second ranked pair and show that they are real contenders for a gold medal at the SEA Games in Myanmar in December.
It will be a tough day for the country’s top mixed doubles pair of Peng Soon-Liu Ying as they will be up against top seeds Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei of China for a place in the semi-finals.
After defeating England’s Chris Langridge-Heather Olver 21-18, 21-17, Liu Ying said: “We have lost to Zhang-Zhao in all three previous meetings. They are the favourites but we aim to gain as much confidence as we can by putting up a good show.”
Malaysia’s sole survivor in the men’s singles – world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei should have no problem getting past India’s Ajay Jayaram in the second round.