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Japanese girls stay on course for doubles title

Top seeds Mizuki Fujii-Reika Kakiiwa survived a scare before qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Maybank Malaysia Open presented by Proton on Thursday.

Shizuka Matsuo-Mami Naito (NR Mas 2nd)The Japanese girls, who are seeking their first OSIM BWF World Superseries title, were taken to the limit by Singapore’s Shinta Mulia Sari-Yao Lei before winning 22-20, 9-21, 21-10.

Their teammates and fourth seeds Shizuka Matsuo-Mami Naito (left), also made it to the last eight to stay on course to make it an all-Japanese final when they defeated Chinese qualifiers Cheng Shu-Pan Pan 21-18, 21-14.

Matsuo-Naito will meet Taipei’s Cheng Wen Hsing-Chien Yu Chin, who defeated Canada’s Alex Bruce-Michelle Li 21-15, 21-13, for a place in the semi-finals.

Mizuki FujiiFujii-Kakiiwa won two Grand Prix Gold tournaments in Germany last year, taking home the German and Bitburger Opens as they surged past Miyuki Maeda-Satoko Suetsuna – Japan’s only women’s doubles Superseries champions – to become their countries top women’s pairings.

Asked about their win on Thursday, Fujii (right), said: “We knew it was not going to be easy as our opponents are quite tough.

“They pushed us all the way in the first game and then ran away with the second. After falling behind, Reika and I started thinking about the rubber game. We tried out some new tactics in anticipation of the deciding match and I’m glad we managed to pull through in the end.”

Valeri Sorokina-Nina Vislova (Mas 2nd)Fujii-Kakiiwa will next meet Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen-Kamilla Rytter Juhl after the seventh seeds crushed Russia’s Valeri Sorokina-Nina Vislova (left), 21-6, 21-10.

Pedersen, who won two Superseries crowns last season in the mixed doubles with Joachim Fischer Nielsen, said: “We hardly train as pair, but I think one of the reasons why we are so good together is because we both play in the mixed doubles.

“We usually train for the mixed doubles and I think that has given us an advantage.”

Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (NR Mas 2nd)

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (right), qualified for their first ever Superseries quarter-finals when they defeated India’s V. Diju-Jwala Gutta 21-19, 21-23, 21-19.

The Bitburger Open champions will meet Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Vanessa Neo on Friday. The Singaporeans stunned England’s Nathan Robertson-Jenny Wallwork 21-13, 21-17, to book their quarter-final tickets.

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