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Soniia will face the winner of the match between Macau Open champion Michelle Li of Canada and Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi for a place in the quarter-finals. - File pic

NATIONAL women’s singles Soniia Cheah prefers to keep her feet on the ground despite pulling off one the biggest upsets of her career at the China Open in Fuzhou on Tuesday.

Soniia, who is Malaysia’s sole prospect for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, needed only 37 minutes to see off Japanese World No 4 Akane Yamaguchi 21-19, 21-16 in the first round at the Haixia Olympic Sports Centre.

Soniia will face the winner of the match between Macau Open champion Michelle Li of Canada and Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi for a place in the quarter-finals.

Asked if Akane’s recent dip in form was a factor in her victory, Soniia, said: “Every player goes through ups and downs and every match is different.

“Beating Akane has definitely boosted my confidence.”

But Soniia’s not about to dwell on her feat. Instead, she prefers to focus on her next match.

“I don’t think it’s important to note if this is my first big win over a world top-five player. It was just a match and I need to move on.

“I need to keep the faith and look ahead. In this kind of tournament, every match is a challenge,” she said.

There was more good news for Malaysia when national pair Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai and independent duo Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying also cleared their first hurdles in mixed doubles.

World No 11 Soon Huat-Shevon scalped world No 9 Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith of England for the third time this season with a 21-18, 21-19 win, and will face Indonesia’s Rinov Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas Mentari in the second round.

Peng Soon-Liu Ying also had to slog before seeing off France’s Thom Gicquel-Delphine Delrue 21-19, 21-19 to set up a second-round date with Robin Tabeling-Selena Piek of the Netherlands.

In men’s doubles, Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani, who reached the semi-finals of the Macau Open last week, continued their good form by beating China’s Di Zi Jian-Wang Chang 21-18, 21-12.

The Malaysian world No 24 will face Japanese opponents in the second round — either world No 4 Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda of Japan or Takuto Inoue-Yuki Kaneko.

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