Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah headlined four Malaysian doubles’ entry into the Kumamoto Masters quarter-finals in Japan, while Ng Tze Yong gave top seeded Viktor Axelsen an almighty scare in their showdown.
There hadn’t been much expectations on Tan-Thinaah to contend for the women's doubles title in this Super 500 event, given the pair's long layoff from tournaments due to a back injury suffered by Tan.
But against Japan’s Rui Hirokami-Yuna Kato, the world number 13 pair were imperious to record a 21-17, 21-16 victory which puts them into the last eight against another Japanese pair Rena Miyaura-Ayako Sakuramoto.
In the mixed doubles, two Malaysian pairs came through but they will face a tough ordeal against the top two seeds on Friday.
Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei had beaten Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai 16-21, 21-13, 21-13 to come through, but China’s top ranked pair Zheng Si Wei-Huang Ya Qiong will be out to test their mettle to the maximum after this.
It is the same for Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing, who shouldn’t be too carried away by their straight game success over Kim Won-ho-Jeong Na-eun, with Japan’s Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino looming next.
In the men’s doubles, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi did well to recover from a game down before disposing of their Thai opponents.
They will fancy their chances against Chinese Taipei’s Fang Chih-lee-Fang-Jen-lee for a place in the semi-finals.
Ng, meanwhile, can hold his head up high after pushing Axelsen to the wire before the Dane prevailed 20-22, 21-11, 21-18.
The Malaysian will look back at this encounter and realize with some fine tuning, the scoreline could have easily been in his favour especially when he held a 13-10 advantage in the deciding game.
Men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik were also eliminated after a straight game defeat against Akira Koga-Taichi Sato.