MALAYSIA OPEN 2014 R32 – Late consolation for locals

Goh V Shem / Lim Khim Wah were among the mere 5 home representatives to survive the first round, upsetting Boe/Mogensen in the late evening. Meanwhile, World Junior Champion Akane […]

Goh V Shem / Lim Khim Wah were among the mere 5 home representatives to survive the first round, upsetting Boe/Mogensen in the late evening. Meanwhile, World Junior Champion Akane Yamaguchi outshined World Champion Ratchanok Intanon, while Chen Long barely survived the attack of Korea’s Lee Dong Keun.

By Ooi Ee Lyn, Badzine Correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Contrary to Malaysia’s famous line ‘Malaysia Boleh’ – meaning ‘Malaysia can do it’ – local players, big and small names alike, went down one after another, leaving only 6 advancing into the second round, after 18 had started the day.  Among the 12 losses for locals, the defeat of Hoon Thien How / Tan Wee Kiong at the hands of England’s Chris Langridge / Peter Mills (pictured below) was perhaps the most heartbreaking one. After suffering what they described as one of the worst defeats in their history as a pair, Hoon/Tan were clearly stunned, remaining silent at the post-match press conference for some time before finally speaking out.

Hoon, seen with an ice pack wrapped around his right elbow said, “We really wanted to do well, but we ended up…[losing instead].

“We had too many thoughts and couldn’t get into form. It just felt as if something was missing. We only played 50% of what we’ve got. Our draw was good and we really wanted to perform well, but we couldn’t. It’s just our fault. It’s not the problem about our stamina or skills, it’s about controlling our thoughts.”

Immediately after Hoon/Tan’s loss, Koo/Tan gave in to Chai Biao / Hong Wei in straight games.

Koo confessed, “There are no more excuses for me to give anymore. The more excuses I give, the more people will think that we are giving excuses for our loss. There is something that I don’t want to say anymore, because anything I say becomes an excuse. I don’t know how to explain my feelings right now. I’m just saying I’m very, very upset. I’m not blaming anyone. It’s just my fault.”

V Shem and Khim Wah comfort home crowd

Right when local spectators who stayed back till late evening were almost completely disappointed with the performance of the home team, Goh V Shem / Lim Khim Wah (pictured top) took a huge leap and an amazing comeback to trash world #3 and recent Korean Open winners Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (pictured below) 24-22, 17-21, 21-18.

Goh said, “We lost so badly at the Korea Open [to the Danes], so we seriously analysed their matches, and managed to play well today.”

“Maybe we lacked confidence previously, but now our hearts are strong enough. We didn’t bother about all the defeats of our teammates today, and only focused on wanting to grab a spot in the second round,” added Lim.

The only remaining Malaysian pair in the men’s doubles will face Maneepong Jongjit / Nipitphon Puangpuapech in the second round on Thursday.

Junior outshines Senior

Akane Yamaguchi (pictured) met Ratchanok Intanon to show the crowd a matchup between the queens of the recent World Junior Championships and World Championships respectively. One would have thought that the senior champion, Intanon – recently named Asian Sporting Icon by Fox Sports – would have excelled more, but it was Yamaguchi, the 16-year-old who broke through today.

Even so, the humble Yamaguchi said, “I think I was able to defeat Ratchanok because of her mistakes. It just happened that way for me. It doesn’t mean that I can be one of the top 10 players just because I beat her, but I really want to try to play against the world’s top players.”

Akane Yamaguchi’s victory secured a spot for Japan in the quarter-finals, as she will next play against Minatsu Mitani, who stepped into round two following the withdrawal of Juliane Schenk from their match.

Lee Dong Keun – So close yet so far

Recently surpassed again as Korea’s top men’s singles player – after being the country’s go-to man at the Sudirman Cup in Kuala Lumpur last year – Lee Dong Keun (pictured below) has been striving to make his name big by beating more world class players. The process has been tough for Lee, but today he finally earned himself a great boost of self-confidence by troubling Chen Long and bringing himself as close as a mere inch from victory over the world #2.

Despite the eventual defeat, Lee was grateful for the priceless experience gained: “I lost the second game in the end because I was too nervous. It’s a little disappointing, but it was a great experience. I feel more confident now.”

Chen’s next opponent is Hong Kong qualifier Wei Nan, who took SEA Games gold medallist Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk by surprise, defeating the Thai 24-22, 19-21, 21-19.

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