Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong qualified for the semi finals of the London Olympics men's doubles competition by defeating Bodin Isara/Maneepong Jongjit of Thailand 21-16.21-18 at the Wembley Arena this morning.
It will be a first appearance for a Malaysian pair in the doubles semis since Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wah Wah achieved it at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
They will take on China's Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng who booked their spot with an easy 21-15,21-19 win over compatriats Chai Biao/Guo Zhengdong.
Playing with zest and plenty of determination, the Malaysians raised their game and were deserving winners as the Thai's wilted under pressure.
"It was a sleepless night for me as my mind was on the game. One can say i was nervous but once the match got underway I gained in confidence," said Koo.
"Making the semis is good but taking it another step is what we want to do. It is the final that were are aiming for as that will assure us of a medal.
"The key today was we had an explosive start, catching the Thai's at the own game. But we need to cut down on our errors and giving away points cheaply.
It was a runaway start for the Malaysians as they raced to a 9-0 lead with Koo serving. The Thais had no answer to the devastating smashes of Tan while Koo was agile in the front, often cathing the opponents off guard with his deft flicks.
They extended their lead to 15-6 but then mistakes started creeping in as Koo/Tan made unforced errors. The Thais crept up to 17-11 as they got their act together.
Though Koo/Tab led 19-12, the Thai's collected four points and were just three off the Malaysians when Maneepong sent his shot into the net, giving Koo/Tan the set point. And they made it at the first time of asking to win the first set 21-16 in 17 minutes.
In the second it was the same scenario as Koo/Tan raced to a 4-2 led before reeling off another four points in a row to lead 8-2. They however started making mistakes once again, giving easy points at the net to allow the Thai's two points.
Koo/Tan got their act together and showed good defensive skills to lead 11-4 at the break, looking confident as they were given pointers by coach Tan Kim Her.
But their game was in tatters as they allowed the Thai's back into the match despite holding a 16-10 lead at one stage to just a two point lead of 18-16.
However they kept their composure to take the set 21-18 in 23 minutes and booked their place in the semis.
"My heart felt like coming out of my body as I was so nervous. It is different then playing in other competitions as this is the Olympics," said Tan.
"Now we are another step nearer to the elusive gold medal and you can be rest assured that we will do our best against the Chinese. We may be the underdogs but that tag suits us just fine."