Two of Malaysia’s independent pairs – Goh Soon Huat/Lai Shevon Jemie and Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing – stayed in the hunt for a medal as they made the quarterfinals of the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2022.
Goh/Shevon’s result was the more spectacular, with opponents Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue, one of the pre-tournament favourites, crashing 21-16 21-4 in a 38 minute rout.
Tan and Lai followed them into the quarterfinals, with a comfortable 21-12 21-14 result over local pair Kyohei Yamashita/Naru Shinoya.
For Shevon, the journey so far has been confirmation of their new-found belief and a better understanding of patterns of play on court. The key, Shevon said, was patience. Given that they are an independent pair without a team around them, the results have taken time.
“We’ve been patient with ourselves,” said Shevon. “We keep trying to find ways to improve on our weaknesses. It was a very tough struggle previously, because we couldn’t find a way to do it. But now I am more confident in saying that we have found the rhythm of the match.”
“Previously, we’d been searching around, we were not sure of what we should do on court. We were not sure with our level and things like that. But now we are both more stabilised in that area, we know where our base is, how we should control the game better. So that, I think, brought us to another level to fight with the top pairs.”
The homework they did, and the support they had for each other as on-court and off-court partners, paid off.
“Both of us supported each other no matter what during training, especially when we lost a match. And from there, we kind of found a way to come back. What did we do wrong? What we could have done better? And we applied that in training.”
Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing, who are in their first World Championships quarterfinals, felt they’d proved a point by making the last eight.
“We’ve reached our target, which was to make the quarterfinals,” said Lai. “Tomorrow we are up against Zheng and Huang, they are strong opponents, so let’s see… we are excited to see where we are compared to them.”