M’sia Open: Fajar-Muhammad Rian stave off China’s doubles dominance

The world number one men’s doubles Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto of Indonesia was clearly in a class of their own when they defeated China’s Liang Wei Keng-Wang Chang 21-18, 18-21, 21-13, in the final of the 2023 Malaysia Open at Axiata Arena.

The victory saw the runners-up of the 2019 and 2022 World Badminton Championships, successfully blocking China’s dominance from claiming all the doubles titles in the tournament.

Fajar, 27, said winning the Super 1000 series for the first time meant a lot to him to prove that they deserve to be at the top of the world rankings. It will also boost their confidence to play in the Indian Open starting this Tuesday (Jan 17).

“Alhamdulillah, we are grateful to win today. In the third set, I said to Muhammad Rian to just do our best and go for all the shots. We are humbled by this victory.

“We would also like to thank all the badminton fans at Axiata Arena for their support. Indeed, the cheering pumped us up to give our best on the court,” he said. 

In the last Malaysia Open, Fajar-Muhammad Rian had to settle as the second-best after being beaten by Japanese pair, Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi, 22-24, 21-16, 9-21.

Earlier, world number one women’s doubles Chen Qing Chen-Jia Yi Fan of China defeated the world’s 20th pair, Baek Ha Na-Lee Yu Lim of South Korea, 21-16, 21-10 in a match that lasted 52 minutes.

Qing Chen, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games silver medalist, however, admitted that the match against the 2022 Japan Open runners-up was not easy due to the Koreans’ solid defence.

“Baek Ha Na-Lee Yu Lim’s defence is very good. However, this is the third time we have met so we are quite familiar with their playing styles.

“We don’t think too much about winning,” she said through an interpreter.

China also clinched the mixed doubles title when its world number one pair, Zheng Si Wei-Huang Ya Qiong won the Malaysian Open title for the fourth consecutive time after defeating Japan’s Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino 21-19, 21-11. — BERNAMA