KUALA LUMPUR: Top Japanese women’s pair Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi have a poor record against opponents from China.
They are also one of the few top pairs in the world who have yet to bag a Super Series title.
The pair, who reached a career high No. 2 in the world last year before slipping down to fourth, however believe that has kept them hungry and motivated at the highest level.
Top Japanese pair Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi are in the final of the Malaysian Open after defeating compatriots Reika Kakiiwa-Miyuki Maeda in the semis at Putra Stadium on Saturday.
And Matsutomo-Takahashi have certainly shown that in the Maybank Malaysian Open here.
On Friday, they scored a rare win over Olympic champions Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei of China in the quarter-finals.
Then on Saturday, they outlasted compatriots Reika Kakiiwa-Miyuki Maeda in 86 minutes to reach the Malaysian Open final for the second straight year.
“We’re obviously very tired... but we just keep pushing ourselves to do better,” said Matsutomo.
KUALA LUMPUR: World number one Lee Chong Wei's march to the Malaysia Open title appeared unstoppable after Chinese archrival Chen Long crashed out in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Malaysia's Lee, who had no trouble brushing past Chen's eighth-seeded compatriot Du Pengyu 21-9, 21-15, said he is feeling confident after his quick 34-minute win.
Asked about world number two Chen, who defeated him at the Korea Open last week, Lee just smiled and said: "I always try my best to win every tournament I enter.
"It is no different here, but as I always say, I will take it one match at a time and now I have to focus on my semifinal opponent."
BUKIT JALIL: Japan's world No. 5 Kenichi Tago gave Lee Chong Wei a massive favour after turning on the style to stun world No. 2 Chen Long in the quarter-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
Chen Long who won the Korean Open last week by beating Chong Wei, was suffering from fever and was clearly not in his best condition as Tago won 21-18, 9-21, 21-10 on Saturday.
The Japanese ace will go on to meet Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto in the semi-finals. Tommy was in smashing form as he brushed aside India's K. Srikanth 21-10, 21-15.
BUKIT JALIL: The onus was on Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah to step up and deliver and the pair responded with gusto as they charged into the semi-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
The sole Malaysian survivors of the men’s doubles event, V Shem-Khim Wah were in superb form on Friday as they smashed their way past England’s Chris Langridge-Peter Mills 21-16, 21-14 in the quarter-finals.
It was just the kind of performance the pair, back together for a third time following several split-ups, needed.
It bettered their quarter-final appearance at the Korean Open last week and it is their best showing at a Super Series event since making the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open last year.
BUKIT JALIL: South Korean women’s singles shuttler Bae Yeon-ju has several career highlights.
Making the semi-finals of last year’s world championships and being a part of the of victorious 2010 Uber Cup team are just two of them.
But she’s aiming for much more. The 23-year-old has two goals for this year – to break her duck in the Super Series events as well as win the gold in the Asian Games which will be held in Incheon.
The crafty left-hander, who is currently ranked seventh in the world, is well on track to achieving her first target after storming into the semi-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open on Friday.
Yeon-ju, who hails from Gyeongsangnam, showed her mettle as she doused the challenge of 16-year-old Akane Yamaguchi 21-15, 21-16.
It was an impressive performance as the young Japanese has been on a roll, beating world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand and compatriot Minatsu Mitani in the first and second round respectively.
BUKIT JALIL: It’s rare to see a couple travel the world and play good badminton together.
But that is the adventurous journey of mixed doubles shuttler Chris Adcock and his wife Gabrielle.
The couple tied the knot last September and are enjoying the best of both worlds.
Just a month after their marriage, the English pair won their first Super Series title in Hong Kong.
And on Thursday, the Adcocks stormed into the quarter-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open after beating Germany’s Michael Fuchs-Birgit Michels 23-21, 16-21, 21-6 at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
BUKIT JALIL: The second round of the Maybank Malaysian Open got off to an unexpected start with two of the top four seeds in the men’s doubles crashing out.
Taiwan’s Lee Sheng-mu-Tsai Chia-hsin were on fire as they doused the challenge of world champions and top seeds Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan on Thursday.
The world No. 9 got their act right for a 21-10, 19-21, 21-13 win. Sheng-mu-Chia-hsin will go on to face sixth seeds Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa of Japan, who defeated Dutch duo Koen Ridder-Ruud Bosch, in the quarter-finals.
Saina fought hard before going down 21-16 10-21 19-21 to Yao Xue of China, while Sindhu lost to sixth seed Yeon Ju Bae of Korea 16-21 19-2.
Kuala Lumpur: India's campaign in the women's singles came to an end at the USD 500,000 Malaysia Super Series Premier badminton event after both Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu lost their respective second round matches, here on Thursday.
Olympic bronze medalist Saina fought hard before going down 21-16 10-21 19-21 to lower-ranked Yao Xue of China in a 56-minute contest, while Sindhu lost to sixth seed Yeon Ju Bae of Korea 16-21 19-21 in 45 minutes at the Putra Stadium.
BUKIT JALIL: Doubles shuttlers Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem saved Malaysia from their worst-ever showing on home soil in the men’s doubles when they became the only pair to win the opening match.
On Wednesday, Khim Wah-V Shem gained sweet revenge when they dumped second seeds and reigning Korean Open champions Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark 24-22, 17-21, 21-18.
Just last week, the Malaysians had gone down with a whimper to the Danes in the quarter-finals of the season-opener in cold Seoul.
But on Wednesday, they were blowing hot, showing great fighting spirit to outplay the Danes and prevent Malaysia from suffering a complete whitewash.
BUKIT JALIL: As a young boy, Lee Yong-dae of South Korea picked up badminton in a bid to lose weight.
Not only did he go on to shed some kilos, but the 25-year-old also grew to become one of the heavyweights in the doubles event.
In fact, he is one of the most admired players in the Maybank Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
And the Olympic Games gold medallist says he owes it all to his mother.
“I was quite chubby when I was eight years old and my mother signed me up with a badminton club so that I could lose weight,” he said with a smile.
“Within a year, I lost some pounds... I can’t remember how many kilos but I decided to stop as my mission was accomplished.