BUKIT JALIL: Independent shuttler Liew Daren has pledged to make it tough for reigning world champion Viktor Axelsen in Saturday’s Malaysia Masters semi-finals at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.
Daren, the only surviving Malaysian in the men’s singles event, recorded an impressive 21-18, 21-17 win over Thailand's Suppanyu Avihingsanon in his quarter-final match on Friday.
Axelsen, the World No 1, checked into the last-four after a hard fought 21-15, 19-21, 21-12 win over Indonesia's Jonatan Christie.
The showdown between Daren and Axelsen could turn into a classic as the Dane lost to the Malaysian in the final of the 2012 French Open in Paris.
Daren said: “It is going to be tough. My win in 2012 cannot be taken into account as Axelsen is in a different class now.”
"However, I will not make it easy for him. I am going to go all out, so let's wait and see what happens tomorrow," said Daren, who also reached the last-four in last week’s Thailand Masters.
The 31-year-old has been playing with less pressure since he quit the national team in 2016.
"I am not under any pressure these days and this is definitely the key to my success. I want to make the final here,” he added.
In the women's singles, former World Junior Championships runner-up Lee Ying Ying failed to reach the semi-finals following a 21-17, 21-16 defeat to last year’s Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain.
“I had a chance to win the first game, but I made mistakes as I was too eager to finish it quickly.
"Marin kept her cool and rallied back. It's okay, I think I played well. I hope to represent the country in the Uber Cup in May,” said Ying Ying, who was not selected for the Asia team Championship, scheduled next month, in Alor Star.