GEORGE TOWN – It was easy for national men’s singles ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei to reach the semi-finals of the Malaysian Masters Grand Prix Gold (Gold GP) held at the SPICE Arena here, yesterday.
Playing in his home state, Chong Wei took only 35 minutes to defeat 10th seeded Ajay Jayaram of India, 21-16, 21-16 in the quarter-finals.
“In the game, Ajay played a lot of shots that were a bit confusing (for me) and I was a little distracted during the game. But luckily in the end I managed to recover back,” he told reporters.
The former world number one will face Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia, who is the third seed, in the semifinals.
Tommy had earlier defeated China’s Qiao Bin 21-6, 21-17 in another quarter-final match.
“I will focus more on my own performance. In the few games before this, I have not been tested a hundred percent,” Chong Wei said.
When asked of the possibility of facing compatriot Iskandar Zainuddin in the final, Chong Wei said such a scenario would bode well for the country’s development in badminton.
He said it was rare for a junior to show outstanding performance in a big competition such as the Golden Grand Prix.
“I hope that Iskandar plays well tomorrow against K. Srikanth because the player from India is also in good form. Hope he can keep it up,” he said.
Meanwhile, only one of the country’s badminton doubles teams made it to the semi-finals namely professional pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong.
Kien Keat/Boon Heong had to face a ‘rubber set’ before confirming their victory over Japanese pair Hiroyuki Saeki/Ryota Taohata in 21-16, 20-22, 21-13, and now face tough opponents from South Korea, Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang, who are also the top seeds of the tournament.
“We have never beaten them (Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang). All matches are important, and the most important thing is we have to think of how to face our opponents from Korea,” said Boon Heong, who acknowledged that they were uncomfortable facing the Korean pair.
It was a different episode for national doubles pair Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong, who failed to maintain their momentum in the quarter-final against Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda of Japan.
The pair won the first set 24-22 but failed to maintain the pace thereafter, losing both the second and third sets, 16-21.
Mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying also booked a slot in the semi-finals against compatriots Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing.