Having to play against rivals, coached by a fellow Malaysian, is no easy feat.
This was evident when national mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying were made to slog before beating India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Ashwini Ponnappa in the first round of the China Open in Fuzhou today.
The seventh seeded Malaysians had to claw back from a game down before carving out an 18-21, 21-19, 21-17 win over the Indian pair, currently coached by former international, Tan Kim Her.
Peng Soon said: “I wouldn’t say we were troubled by our opponents but it was tricky going up against a pair coached by a Malaysian.
“We lost the first game because they figured out our tactics and caught us off guard. Thankfully we switched things around to win the remaining two.
“Liu Ying and I were also using this match to figure out the conditions of the hall and court. As you know, every tournament has a different feel.”
The 2016 Rio Olympic Games silver medallists will play Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti tomorrow for a place in the quarter-finals.
Earlier in the mixed doubles, National No 3. Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing went down 21-15, 21-5 to second seeds Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping of China.
Also reaching the second round was independent men’s singles shuttler, Liew Daren, who scored an impressive 18-21, 25-23, 21-6 win over Denmark’s Jan Jorgensen.
Fellow professional, Chong Wei Feng, however, failed to match the prowess of eighth seed, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia, who chalked up a 21-11, 21-14 win.