It will be a day that young debutant Yang Li Lian will savour for a long time when she became Malaysia’s heroine in the Uber Cup Asian Zone qualifying tournament in Macau yesterday.
Yesterday, the 19-year-old Li Lian, who was trailing 2-11 in the rubber game, made a dramatic turn for Malaysia when she fought her way back to beat India’s Sayali Gokhale 11-21, 21-15, 22-20 to take Malaysia into the quarter-finals with a 3-2 victory.
The burden fell on Li Lian to secure the winning point after Malaysia and India had split the four earlier matches.
Reserve Li Lian, who was only a last minute inclusion following the injury to Sonia Cheah prior to the qualfier, stepped up to take the challenge but all looked lost when she caved in meekly in the opening game.
Despite forcing a rubber after taking the second game 21-15, Li Lian was again on the backfoot early in the decider.
A Malaysian defeat seemed eminent when Sayali surged to a 11-2 lead at the changeover. But Li Lian proved that she was made of a sterner stuff by racking up points to secure the narrow 22-20 victory and keep alive Malaysia’s hope of winning one of the three tickets for the Finals, which will be held in Wuhan, China, in May.
With the win, Malaysia finished as the runner-up to China in Group A.
They will take on the winner of today’s Group C match between Thailand and Indonesia in the last eight tomorrow.