Malaysia Masters: Project Paris 2024 Activated

Lee So Hee and Baek Ha Na have hardly put a foot wrong since pairing up in October.

Starting off as a brief experiment at the end of last season, good results at the Denmark (runners-up) and French Opens (semifinalists) saw the partnership extended into 2023.

By the end of the European leg in early April, the Koreans were the most in-form shuttlers on the planet. Currently, no player or pair has more match wins than their 25.

In total, they have only failed to make the final at four of the 10 tournaments they contested. From those four, they have three semifinal finishes to show.

Following the 21-19 21-14 win over Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara at PERODUA Malaysia Masters 2023 which assured them yet another final appearance, Lee confirmed Baek will be her permanent partner for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualification, which began May 1.

“This is a fairly young partnership and as with any new project, you try your best to make it work. So far so good for us,” said two-time Olympian Lee.

“We are going to try and qualify for the Olympics, this partnership is here to stay. We aim to complement each other better with time. Everything is working well, we hope to keep that going.”

At the Axiata Arena this week, the world No.6s won all their matches in straight games, including against top seeds Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida in the quarterfinals.

Lee suggested their adaptability to court conditions has been key.

“The shuttle is slow in this hall so we know if win the opening games, we have a better chance of finishing in straight games,” said the 28-year-old.

Lee/Baek face homesters Tan Pearly/Thinaah Muralitharan in the title match tomorrow.

Tan and Thinaah gave their all to get over the line.

The Malaysians became the first local women’s pair to qualify for the final in 11 years after outlasting another Korean duo in a gruelling 93-minute battle. Despite trailing 12-2 at one point in the second game, the sixth seeds raced back to defeat fifth-seeded Kim Hye Jeong/Jeong Na Eun 21-19 23-21.

“Means a lot. We’ve never come this far on home ground. This is the reward for never giving up. We are exhausted now, we really need the rest before the final,” said Muralitharan.

The pairs have met once, incidentally in the semifinal of last year’s French Open, which Tan/Muralitharan went on to clinch.

Results (Semifinals)

Order of play (Finals)


“In this competition, the matches are long. Most players were able to show patience, we were a bit less patient than others.”Mayu Matsumoto on losing in the semifinals

“Winning in two games has given me more belief. I’m motivated to get the best result tomorrow.”Gregoria Mariska Tunjung after beating Pusarla V. Sindhu

“This is a very important match for me. I’ve never played him. I want to get my recovery right because I’m looking forward to it.”Lin Chun-yi on starting his TOYOTA GAZOO RACING Thailand Open 2023 campaign next week against senior compatriot Chou Tien Chen

Chinese Taipei’s new hope in men’s singles.

BWF World Tour News

Title Sponsor