Malaysia 2-1 Japan : Ups and downs for Malaysia

Chan Yiwen 3-0 Risa Sugamoto   11-6, 11-1, 11-3 (20m)
Aifa Azman 1-3 Satomi Watanabe  8-11, 2-11, 11-8, 5-9 rtd (40m)
Rachel Arnold 3-0 Akari Midirikawa   11-6, 11-2, 11-8 (29m)

A day full of ups and downs for the Malaysian team tonight, with an easy first match, Chan Yiwen only losing 10 points, 20m game against Risa Sugamoto.

Things got a bit more complicated in the second game, when Japanese Giant Killer Satome Watanabe showed up with her A+ game, not giving much chances to Malaysian Aifa Azman to see impose her attacking game, led 11/8, and 10/1 in the second.

A good reaction in the 3rd, but in the fourth, the Malaysian seemed to stay in the way of her opponent a bit too much and looking for her more than looking for the ball, and got penalised by no let and strokes, to her despair. On an other lovely drop shot from Satome on the right front corner of the court, the Malaysian tried to get to the ball, found the body of Satome whereas a line on the right seemed to be open and found herself on the floor. We were at 9/5 for Satome, and the Malaysian couldn’t continue with the match, complaining about her face/neck, retiring there and then.
But it would seem she is recovering nicely, and should be fit for tomorrow’s match against France.

Rachel Arnold (Malaysia) did the job against Japan’s young marvel Akari Midirikawa, but a good resistance in the first and third game from the youngster, who showed yet again how gifted she is.

Ajaz Azmat, coach to Malaysia, commented at the end:

“The team is doing well. This was an important tie. Aifa was playing well in her match but then had the injury, but she’s doing fine now. She and the other three girls are playing well. Rachel really played well [to close out the tie]. We’re hoping to take France tomorrow afternoon. We want to finish number one in our group.

“It’s going to be a big clash. Camille is back and she’s going to be very strong at No.2, she and Rachel will be playing for the first time. We’ve both got strong No.3s, too and Melissa v Aifa is going to be big. All in all, I’d give us a 50-50 chance, it’s going to be about who can handle the pressure well."