By S. RAMAGURU
LONDON: Doubles pair Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong stayed on course for a medal in badminton when they reached the semi-finals with a 21-16, 21-18 win over Thailand’s Isara Bodin and Jongkit Maneepong at the Wembley Arena.
They will now play the tournament top seed Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng in the semis on Saturday.
The Malaysians who made their Olympic debut in 2008 in Beijing have gone one better this time and are hoping to create history by making the final.
The quarterfinal tie today showed they have improved their defensive play and stand chance at winning.
In the first game against the Thais the Malaysians were hitting top form as they started the match reeling off nine points in a row to lead 9-0 in just four minutes. They kept the lead all the way and won at 21-16 in 17 minutes.
The second set was more evenly contested but like the first, the Malaysians held the lead.
The Thais came back strongly in the later stages of the match but in the end Kien Keat and Boon Heong won 21-18 in 23 minutes.
Malaysian coach Tan Kin Her said the pair was playing with better understanding and have learnt from the past.
There is still two matches to go to win a medal. But their confidence level is high and they will be trying very hard to win those two golds.
“There're still some areas that needed to be looked into and I am sure the pair will make the necessary adjustments before the semis,” said Kin Her.
The Chinese top seeds earned their semis berth with a 21-15, 21-19 win against compatriots Chai Biao and Guo Zhedong.