MALAYSIA MASTERS QF – Indonesia starts off with two big wins

Ahsan/Setiawan and Polii/Rahayu both won their matches early quarter-finals day at the Malaysia Masters. By Don Hearn, Badzine correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur.  Photos: Mark Phelan / Badmintonphoto (live) Indonesia, […]

Ahsan/Setiawan and Polii/Rahayu both won their matches early quarter-finals day at the .

By Don Hearn, Badzine correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur.  Photos: Mark Phelan / Badmintonphoto (live)

Indonesia, Chinese Taipei, and Korea were all involved in matches on two courts simultaneously early on quarter-finals day at the Malaysia Masters.  Chinese Taipei went one up, one down, Korea lost both, and Indonesia came up with wins in both men’s and women’s doubles.

Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan had to face Chinese Taipei’s Lee Yang / Wang Chi Lin twice at last month’s World Tour Finals.  After splitting those two encounters, they had just a few weeks’ break and then in the first tournament of the new season, they had yet another showdown with the world #7.

Wang Chi Lin unleashed plenty of his big smashes from the back while Lee Yang piled on the pressure from the front.  Still, the Indonesians kept their cool as usual and it was almost enough to take the opener but the Chinese Taipei pair had a slight edge and they scraped by 22-20.

The second game looked to be a blowout but Wang and Lee came roaring back with a late surge that made it look as if things might end in straight games.  But despite coming back from 8-18 down to make it 18-20, that was as far as they got.  The decider was even closer and the underdogs saved 2 match points before Ahsan and Setiawan sealed it 21-19.

“I think they were more prepared,” said Mohammad Ahsan after the match.  “They didn’t want to let us get away with an easy game.”

On losing narrowing in the opener, Setiawan commented, “It was very difficult for us so we had to focus more and try to get on the attack.”

Asked about the importance of doing well in the new season after so many highlights in 2019, Ahsan replied, “I think this is still important because this is still the qualification for the Olympics so we must still prepare to qualify for the Olympics.”

“We got enough rest but not enough training,” said Ahsan of their break after finishing the season with the title in Guangzhou.

In fact two Chinese Taipei quarter-finalists had to begin the day against World Champions on Friday in Axiata Arena.  While Wang and Lee were battling it out on court 3, their compatriot Tai Tzu Ying was playing a solid but tricky match against Pusarla Venkata Sindhu.  The Indian hasn’t titled since winning the World Championship in August last year but she still has the weapons that can hurt Tai and she put the shuttle hard to the floor on many occasions.

Tai Tzu Ying remained the more consistent, however.  She won the match in a pair of 21-16 games to take her place in the semi-finals.

Unlike their World Champion compatriots, who came in with a 4-2 record against Lee/Wang prior to today, Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu were winless against new Korean pairing Chang Ye Na and Kim Hye Rin.  As 8th seeds, though, they were still the favourites and they certainly played like it.

Both games were neck-and-neck almost from start to finish but Polii and Rahayu were patient and consistent and they finished both off 21-19.  They now take their place in the semi-final, awaiting the winner of the match between Kim So Yeong / Kong Hee Yong and Li Wenmei / Zheng Yu.

“Greysia Polii has a history of doing well in Kuala Lumpur.  She was runner-up in the very first edition of the Malaysia Open back in 2007 and she and Rahayu were runners-up at the Masters last January as well.  On this history, Polii said, “Of course we get to know the tournament; however, whatever tournament we go to, we still want to win.  We come here to be the champion, we want to win.  The fact that the Malaysia Open was my first final back in 2007, still that’s already the past and we want to create something new.”

Asked to compare Chang Ye Na’s new partnership with her former one, Polii said, “I think Jung Kyung Eun was experienced and they knew how to come onto the court.  This partner is younger and she has more power an more intensity to win but still she is a little inexperienced.”

Korea, meanwhile, suffered a pair of disappointments early in the day.  Shortly before Chang and Kim fell to the Indonesians, world #6 Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan were unable to capitalize on a strong opening game and went down in three to Japan’s Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida.  The only previous meeting between these two pairs was at the Korea Open in September, when the home pair prevailed.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @