Soon Huat and Shevon good for title in Barcelona

The mixed doubles pair of Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie stretched their lead over compatriots Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing in the Olympic qualification race as they moved into the quarter-finals of the Spain Masters.

The national No. 2 pair and top seeds beat India’s Pranaav Jerry Chopra-N. Sikki Reddy 21-16,17-21,21-11 in the second round but Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing were stunned by Taiwan’s lowly-ranked Lee Jhe-huei-Hsu Ya-ching 19-21,18-21 in Barcelona.

The Malaysian second pair, ranked 10th in the world, had also lost to the world No. 26 Taiwanese pair in the 2019 Korea Masters but should have done better this time as they were the second seeds and are in a fierce battle with Soon Huat-Shevon to join national No. 1 Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying in the Olympics.

Each country is allowed two pairs in the Olympics only if both finish in the top eight of the Race to Tokyo rankings.

Peng Soon-Liu Ying are currently seventh in the rankings while Soon Huat-Shevon are 10th and Kian Meng-Pei Jing 13th.

Kian Meng-Pei Jing had earlier made hard work of their match against Russians Rodion Alimov-Alina Davletova in the first round and needed three games to prevail 18-21,21-17,21-19 in 73 minutes.

Their struggles continued against the Taiwanese and they have done themselves no favours with their failure to even reach the quarter-finals in Barcelona in the absence of several top pairs.

Soon Huat-Shevon will feel their prospects for the title have brightened with the elimination of their compatriots.

They face unseeded Korean pair Kim Ha-na-Kim Sa-rang in the quarter-finals today and should make it to the semi-finals.

Meanwhile. in a late first round match on Wednesday, Malaysia’s sole representative in the men’s singles, Liew Daren reached the second round by beating India’s H. S. Prannoy 21-18,21-15.

He will take on Frenchman Lucas Corvee for a place in the quarter-finals.

In the men’s doubles, world No. 25 Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani fought hard but ended up losing narrowly to Taiwanese Liao Min-Chun-Su-Ching-heng with a scoreline of 21-17,19-21,18-21 in a match that lasted an hour.

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