Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik shrugged off their semi-final jinx this year to become the first Malaysian pair in 12 years to qualify for the men’s doubles final of the World Badminton Championships in Tokyo today.
In the semi-finals at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, world number six Aaron-Wooi Yik gave a spirited performance to beat the world’s seventh ranked Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty of India 20-22, 21-18, 21-16.
After trailing 7-12 in the first game, the Malaysians tightened their play to catch up at 16-16, 19-19 and 20-20, before losing 20-22 due to their own mistakes.
It was also neck and neck in the second and third games but Aaron-Wooi Yik showed better composure in defence and sharpness in attack to win 21-18 and 21-16.
This is the national pair’s fourth outing at the world meet, with their best performance before this being a quarter-final appearance at the 2018 edition in Nanjing, China.
In tomorrow’s final, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists will play third seeds and former three-time world champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia.
Ahsan-Hendra had earlier defeated teammates Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto 23-21, 12-21, 21-16 in the other semi-final.
Speaking to Badminton World Federation (BWF) after the match, Aaron said: “Of course we are happy with the performance today, but I say our mission is not done yet; there’s one more step to go.”
Aaron-Wooi Yik had failed to clear the semi-finals on six occasions this year, including at the recent 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The last time a Malaysian pair qualified for the world championships men’s doubles final was at the 2010 edition in Paris, which saw Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong losing to China’s Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng.
Another national pair, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi, won a surprise bronze in the world meet in Huelva, Spain, last year. —BERNAMA