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Terry Hee and Jessica Tan’s fairy-tale run ends in Malaysia Open badminton semi-finals

There were sighs from mixed doubles pair Jessica Tan and Terry Hee during the post-match interview, after their fairy-tale start to 2024 ended in the semi-finals of badminton’s Malaysia Open on Jan 13.

South Korea’s seventh-ranked Kim Won-ho and Jeong Na-eun proved too strong for them, winning 21-16, 21-16 at the Axiata Arena.

The world No. 22 Singaporeans had eliminated higher-ranked opponents en-route to the semi-finals.

They beat Chinese Taipei’s 12th-ranked Ye Hong-wei and Lee Chia-hsin in the first round, Thailand’s 20th-ranked Supak Jomkoh and Supissara Paewsampran in the round of 16 and world No. 6 Thais Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai in the quarter-finals.

Kim and Jeong were no slouches themselves, having beaten China’s top-ranked Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong for their last-four spot.

They next face world No. 2s Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino in the final, after the Japanese beat China’s fifth-ranked Jiang Zhenbang and Wei Yaxin 21-15, 12-21, 21-15 in the other last-four clash.

Despite their loss, married couple Hee and Tan will take home US$18,200 ($24,255) and 9,000 BWF points in their bid to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Tan, 30, hopes that they can build on their performance but feels that although they had a game plan, “a lack of discipline” was their undoing on Jan 13.

She added: “We hope to put our results here at the Malaysia Open behind us. Next week is a new week and a new tournament and we don’t want to let our results define us.

“We just hope to take whatever positives that we have gained... and continue to improve and work on that.”

Hee, 28, echoed her sentiments, adding: “Of course, we hope to continue this momentum, but we will take one match at a time and keep working hard.

“We are pleased with our performance at this tournament. But, for this match, maybe we were a little too nervous and did not perform at our best.”

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