Singapore shuttlers advance to Malaysia Open quarter-finals, Latest Team Singapore News - The New Paper
Team Singapore

Singapore shuttlers advance to Malaysia Open quarter-finals

The Republic’s badminton players continued their fine run at the season-opening Malaysia Open, with Yeo Jia Min and mixed doubles pair Terry Hee and Jessica Tan beating higher-ranked opponents on Jan 11 to reach the quarter-finals.

World No. 22 Yeo fought back from a game down to beat China’s eighth-ranked Han Yue 16-21, 21-19, 22-20 at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur and booked her spot in the last eight of the Super 1000 event, where she will face world No. 1 and world champion An Se-young on Jan 12.

The victory was Yeo’s first over Han, an Asian Games silver medallist, since 2018. Han had won all four of their encounters in 2023, two of which had also gone to three games.

Yeo, 24, said she felt relieved to have finally beaten Han, who is of the same age, saying: “I just held on to every point even when I was losing so I kept trying and I’m happy to finally get the win.”

She raced to a 4-0 lead in the first game, but Han clawed her way back to claim it 21-16. Han looked comfortable with a 14-8 lead in the second game, but Yeo fought back to regain the lead at 17-16 before forcing a decider.

Continuing her fine form, Yeo led 19-15 in the third game and survived a nerve-racking end as Han attempted a late comeback, rescuing two match points.

Yeo 22-20 to seal her place in the last eight.

National singles head coach Kelvin Ho praised her performance, saying: “It was more about the mental and emotional aspects of her game, she dared to prolong the game and reduce unforced errors.

“The focus is good and there was good court coverage and movement, and she was hitting the shots with strong purpose.”

Yeo is eager to face her good friend An, whom she last beat at the 2019 Hyderabad Open. The South Korean, 21, has won their last six encounters.

In the mixed doubles, world No. 22 Tan and Hee achieved another milestone as they reached their first Super 1000 quarter-finals with a 21-14, 23-21 win over Thailand’s 20th-ranked Supak Jomkoh and Supissara Paewsampran.

It was neck and neck at the start of the first game, but the Singaporean pair won seven consecutive points to go 20-13 up. Their Thai counterparts saved four game points, but married couple Tan and Hee still claimed the first game 21-14.

It was much closer in the second game and the Singaporeans found themselves down 16-13, but they rallied to win 23-21 and book their quarter-final berth against 2021 world champions Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai.

Tan, 30, said: “(This win) is huge and means a lot to us. We’re really happy that we get another chance to fight again.”