Both Malaysia and Indonesia have sealed quarter-final spots in the ongoing inaugural Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships in Vietnam. The two teams thrashed Asian minnows Sri Lanka 5-0 in their respective group openers.
With big names of both singles and doubles unit from Malaysia not in action in the tournament, it was world number 99 Joo Ven Soong who began the country's campaign with a win against Sri Lanka's Niluka Karunaratne 21-8, 21-17 in the Men's singles category.
19-year-old Ying Ying Lee, who replaced national number one Goh Jin Wei, also got off to a winning start on Tuesday. Teenage Men's doubles pair of Sze Fei Goh and Nur Izzdin were tested but they held their nerves to emerge victorious against the Sri Lankan pairing of Diluka and Niluka Karunaratne.
However, the young Malaysian unit will face their first stern test in the tournament against the Indonesian team, who also decimated Sri Lanka in their opening encounter. Men's singles player Muhammad Bayu Pangisthu has begun the year on a good note by reaching the final stages of Malaysia Masters and Thailand Masters and he will be starting as favourite against Ven Soong.
On the other hand, a close battle between Ying Ying and Indonesian youngster Hanna Ramdani in the Women's singles match is expected. Indonesia know their mixed doubles pairing of Edi Subaktiar and Gloria Ema Widjaja have a tough match against Malaysia's Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jem Lai, who began their season by reaching the final of Malaysia Masters.
While the tie between the two teams is nothing more than a dead rubber, neither of them would want to go down as the winning team will take a lot of positives into the quarter-final, starting Friday.
Possible Line-up: Joo Ven Soong (MS), Ying Ying Lee (WS), Sze Fei Goh/Nur Izzudin (MD), Yin Loo Lim/Yap Chen Wen (WD), Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jem Lai (XD)
Possible Line-up: Muhammad Bayu Pangisthu (MS), Hanna Ramadini (WS), Angga Pratama/Ricky Kara Suwardi (MD), Anggia Shi Awanda/Mahadewi Ketut (WD), Edi Subaktiar/Gloria Widjaja (XD)
TV Schedule [Available from quarter-final]
Singapore: Eleven Sports
Malaysia: Astro Supersport 4
India: Star Sports