SINGAPORE - National mixed doubles badminton players Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo gave their Olympic qualification hopes a boost on Thursday, as they stunned world No. 8 Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto of Indonesia 21-19, 21-14 at the Malaysia Open.
The second-round win at the Superseries Premier event earns them a quarter-final berth against world No. 1 and reigning Olympic champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China on Friday.
The result will also earn the Singapore pair precious ranking points in their bid to earn a place at the Rio de Janeiro Games this August. They are currently more than 10,000 points behind the next higher-ranked Asia pair, Thailand's Bodin Issara and Savitree Amitrapai.
The duo, however, will earn at least 6,050 points from Malaysia, while the Thais pick up just 1,060 points after falling in the qualifiers.
It is also a bright spot in what has been a disappointing season so far for the Singaporeans, who were ranked within the world top 10 in 2013 but has seen their ranking slide to the current world No. 28.
Apart from a second-round exit at the German Open last month, the duo have suffered first-round exits at all five other tournaments they competed in so far this year.
The top 16 pairs according to the world ranking on May 5 will be allocated slots to compete at the Olympics, taking into account the maximum allocation allowed per National Olympic Committee, and ensuring each of the five continental confederations are represented.