LAI Xiao Ying, aiming for a medal in next month's Malaysia Games, opened her 100Plus National Junior Grand Finals campaign with a hard fought win in the girls' Under-18 singles at Juara Stadium yesterday.
Xiao Ying, 17, is the only Pahang player to have qualified for the grand finals in the singles but she made a good start with a 16-21, 21-16, 22-20 win over Nur Aiffa Tajeri of Kedah in a Group C match.
She can confirm her place in the quarter-finals with a win over Lim Zhi Yun of Johor today and the fact that she will not meet any of the national juniors gives her a golden opportunity to reach the last four.
Xiao Ying, who took up the sport when she was nine, said there was added pressure as she is Pahang's lone representative in the competition.
"I'm a little surprised the coaches didn't pick the rest of my teammates. Perhaps they are focusing on the Malaysia Games," said Xiao Ying.
"I'm targeting a medal in the Games and this meet is one of the tournaments I'm using to prepare myself. My target is to make the semi-finals and I have taken a big step towards that goal by beating Aiffa"
Meanwhile, boys' Under-18 singles favourite Soon Joo Ven secured a 21-4, 21-12 win over Wan Mas Asmi of Kelantan in Group A while his challenger Soo Teck Zhi defeated Victor Ong of Kuala Lumpur 21-18, 21-15 in Group B.
RESULTS -- Boys' Under-18 singles, Group A: Soon Joo Ven (BJSS-Sel) bt Wan Mas Ami (Kel) 21-4, 21-12; Group B: Soo Teck Zhi (BJSS-Sel) bt Victor Ong (KL) 21-18, 21-15; Group C: Tan Kian Meng (BJSS-Joh) bt Muhammad Amzzar Zainuddin (Joh) 21-5, 21-13; Group D: Chong Yee Han (BJSS-Sel) bt See Wei Hang (Joh) 21-6, 21-3; Group E: Lim Chi Wing (BJSS-KL) bt Yeoh Kah Seah (Pg) 21-10, 21-13; Group F: Vincent Puah (BJSS-Pk) bt V. Jeeva (Ked) 21-5, 21-13; Group G: Dede Ryan Philip (BJSS-Sab) bt Shahrul Shazwan (Sel) 21-16, 22-20; Group H: Zulhakimi Tahir (Mal) bt Adib Haiqal Nurizwan (Sel) 21-15, 12-21, 21-14.
Girls' singles Under-18, Group A: Lim Yin Fun (BJSS-KL) bt G. Sharmila (Pg) 21-4, 21-12; Group B: Lim Chiew Sien (BJSS-Joh) bt Lim Shi Min (Pg) 21-11, 21-18; Group C: Lai Xiao Ying (Pah) bt Nur Aiffa Tajeri (Ked) 16-21, 21-16, 22-20; Group D: Boon Wei Ying (Mal) bt Chang Yong Heng (NS) 21-13, 21 -14; Group E: Cheong Sing Yueh (Sab) bt Choo Tze Ai (Pg) 22-20, 21-18; Group F: Vinnie Liong (Sar) bt Cindy Lim (Mal) 21-11, 21-17.