It came a little too late but veterans Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty still had much to rejoice yesterday.
The women’s doubles pair helped make it a historic day for the country in the home Grand Prix Gold at the Bandaraya Stadium when they became one of four Malaysian acts to reach the final.
Besides the women’s doubles event, Malaysia also boast finalists in the men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles. This is the country’s best ever performance in an international tournament – albeit in the absence of all the top stars from China, South Korea and Denmark.
One title is assured today with defending champions Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong taking on 2009 world junior champions Chooi Kah Ming-Ow Yao Han in an intriguing men’s doubles final.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong survived a scare before beating KLRC’s Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif 17-21, 21-16, 21-13 while Kah Ming-Yao Han ended the gallant run of seniors Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock with a 20-22, 21-6, 21-16 win.
For Kah Ming-Yao Han, it was a breakthrough performance. It was their first tournament as a pair and it was also the first official tournament for Kah Ming after a seven-month layoff due to a knee surgery.
It was indeed a day of reprieve for Eei Hui-Pei Tty when they outclassed Yuki Fukushima-Yui Miyauchi of Japan 21-19, 21-10 to reach their first final in over a year.
Today, they take on top seeds Shinta Mulia Sari-Yao Lei of Singapore, who prevented an all-Malaysian final by beating Goh Liu Ying-Lim Yin Loo 21-18, 21-14.
Pei Tty said: “This is our first final after the Australian Open last year. Our good performances here surely came a bit too late after we failed to make the cut for the Olympic Games.”
Eei Hui added: “The Singaporeans are the favourites as they have beaten us twice before. They are more consistent. We will continue to enjoy our game. We will decide on our future after this.”
Top seed Chong Wei will be out to win his fourth home GP Gold title when he takes on a rejuvenated Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia in the men’s singles final.
Yesterday, Chong Wei got stuck in a traffic jam and arrived just in time to do a basic warm-up.
The world No. 1 got off to a slow start against Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia but still romped home to a 21-18, 21-18 win.
On meeting Sony, who defeated Mohd Hafiz Hashim 21-19, 21-10, Chong Wei said: “He’s an old timer and I’m familiar with his game.
“I’m feeling more confident after my shoulder injury. I used to have a phobia of getting injured but here, I no longer have that fear.”
In the mixed doubles, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying moved one step closer to winning their first title this year when they defeated Riky Widianto-Puspita Richi Dili of Indonesia 21-18, 21-18 to set up a final date with another Indonesian pair Fadhilah Irfan-Anggraini Weni.