KUALA LUMPUR: It should have been a glorious day for Malaysian badminton at the China Open in Shanghai but men’s doubles ace Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong spoilt it.
On Thursday, fifth seeds Kien Keat-Boon Heong were given a rude shock in the second round after being dispatched 18-21, 18-21 by towering Russians Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov.
The others – Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng – battled their way into the quarter-finals by showing great determination and fighting spirit.
A day after dumping men’s doubles second seeds Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark, the unseeded Thien How-Wee Kiong continued their gallant run by disposing of South Korea’s second best pair – Ko Sung-hyun-Shun Baek-cheol – 17-21, 21-17, 21-18 in one hour and two minutes.
It was their second big scalp over a fancied Korean pair, having stunned Denmark Open champions Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong in the quarter-finals of the French Open last month.
They will take on Ivanov-Sozonov on Friday and Thien How has promised to avenge the loss of their illustrious team-mates.
“We did not allow anything to distract us. We just kept fighting for every point and tomorrow, we will go in with the same mindset against the Russians,” said Thien How.
For mixed doubles pair Peng Soon-Liu Ying, it was sweet revenge when they fought tooth and nail to beat Germany’s Michael Fuchs-Birgit Michels 22-20, 30-28 in a gruelling 59-minute match.
They had lost to the same pair in a Sudirman Cup Group C tie in Kuala Lumpur in May, which saw Malaysia slumping to their worst ever defeat to the Germans in the world mixed team event.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying will now meet Danish world No. 4 Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen.
In the men’s singles, Daren and Wei Feng also played more than one hour each before pulling off hard-fought wins over former world junior champion Tian Houwei of China and Japan’s Takuma Euda respectively.
On Friday, Wei Feng will take on a resurgent Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia while Daren has a tougher challenge against second seed and heavy favourite Chen Long of China.