KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia again failed to break their quarterfinal jinx in the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championship (BAMTC) when they were edged 3-2 by China’s second stringers at the Dubai Exhibition Centre in the UAE yesterday.
Malaysia got off to a great start when top men’s singles player Lee Zii Jia scored the first point by defeating Lei Lan Xi 21-16, 22-20.
But defending champions China drew level when women’s world No 101 singles shuttler Gao Fang Jie fought back from a game down to stun two-time world junior champion Goh Jin Wei 15-21, 21-13, 21-19 after a titanic 70-minute battle.
China then went 2-1 ahead when He Ji Ting and Zhou Hao Dong edged Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi 24-22, 21-18 in the men’s doubles.
Malaysia, however, were thrown a lifeline by world No 5 women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan and M Thinaah, who battled for 76 minutes to tame Liu Sheng Shu and Tan Ning 21-17, 12-21, 21-19 to make the score 2-2.
But China, despite playing without their top stars, were not to be denied as they clinched the winning point courtesy of world No 110 Feng Yan Zhe and Huang Dong Ping’s stunning 21-15, 25-23 win over Malaysia’s world No 6 Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing in the mixed doubles.
In today’s semifinals, China will take on India, who ousted Hong Kong 3-2 in the other quarterfinal tie, and South Korea will square up against Thailand.
The four semifinalists have earned automatic spots in the 2023 Sudirman Cup to be held in Suzhou, China from May 14 to May 21.
Malaysia had earlier finished as Group B runners-up after losing to Thomas Cup champions India 4-1 on Thursday, having started their campaign with 5-0 victories over hosts the UAE and Kazakhstan.
Malaysia have never gone past the quarterfinals in the BAMTC, having crashed out in the last eight in the first edition in 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam and the 2019 edition in Hong Kong.
The 2021 edition in Wuhan, China was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.