KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — Malaysia have assured themselves of a place in the mixed doubles final of the India Open badminton championships after two of the country’s pairs set up a semi-final showdown tomorrow.

Independent shuttlers and top seeds Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing will start as favourites when they take on former national junior counterparts Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei in the last four at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall, New Delhi.

This will be the first head-on clash between world number 10 Kian Meng-Pei Jing and world number 40 Tang Jie-Yen Wei in a competitive tournament.

In today’s quarter-finals, Kian Meng-Pei Jing ousted Russians Konstantin Abramov-Anastasiia Akchurina 21-10, 21-14, while third seeds Tang Jie-Yen Wei downed India’s Venkat Prasad-Juhi Dewangan 21-10, 21-13.

Kian Meng quit the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) last February after Pei Jing and four other senior players were dropped from the national team.

Tang Jie, 24, was delighted to have reached his first semi-finals of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 500 event (third-tier).

“We had a good rest yesterday after getting a walkover (from K Sai Pratheek-Gayatri Gopichand Pullela of India), so we managed to be well-prepared for today’s match.

“We are very happy to make our first semis in the 500 event. Kian Meng-Pei Jing are our seniors and, having trained with them for many years, we know each other’s weaknesses. So, we need to figure out our best game plan for tomorrow,” he said.

Meanwhile, it was the end of the road for the country’s new mixed doubles partnership of Chan Peng Soon, the Rio 2016 Olympics silver medallist, and Valeree Siow as they went down 14-21, 13-21 to second seeds Rodion Alimov-Alina Davletova of Russia in the quarter-finals.

“Our opponents for today were of very high quality. Overall, I feel that our partnership is satisfying, although we need to further improve on our combination if we are to challenge the top pairs,” Peng Soon said.

In men’s doubles, world number 11 Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi easily defeated Ishaan Bhatnagar-Sai Pratheek of India 21-7, 21-7 in just 19 minutes.

But they face an uphill task tomorrow as they will be up against world number two Hendra Setiawan- Mohammad Ahsan of Indonesia.

Rising men’s singles star Ng Tze Yong had to produce another magnificent comeback en route to beating Nhat Nguyen of Ireland 9-21, 21-8, 21-16 in 70 minutes and set up semi-final clash against third seed Lakshya Sen of India.

Yesterday, Tze Yong also had to fight back from a first-game loss before overcoming Frenchman Lucas Claerbout 20-22, 21-15, 21-18 in the second round.

There was no such joy for national independent shuttlers Vivian Hoo-Lim Chiew Sien after they went down 19-21, 21-11,16-21 to Anastasiia Akchurina-Olga Morozova of Russia in women’s doubles.

On a separate development, the BWF issued a statement announcing the cancellation of the Spain Masters scheduled from March 1-6, but said that the rest of the 2022 calendar remained unchanged for now.

“The Spanish Badminton Federation concluded that they are not able to stage the tournament as planned. The BWF, in collaboration with their World Tour hosts, remain diligent in preparing for upcoming tournaments despite the Covid-19 landscape continuing to change,” the statement added. — Bernama