GUANGZHOU: Malaysia’s Sudirman Cup campaign got off to a disappointing start after losing 3-2 to South Korea in their opening Group A match at Guangzhou Gymnasium here yesterday.
A 3-2 loss in the Group 1 encounter against the threetime winners now meant that Malaysia can no longer afford to lose any more of their two remaining group matches against Hong Kong today and Denmark on Thursday to reach the semifinals.
In fact, things had not started off well for the Malaysians yesterday in a revised order of play with the mixed doubles match coming on first instead of the men’s doubles.
Scratch pair Koo Kien Keat/Wong Pei Tty lost to reigning Beijing Olympic gold medallists Lee Yong Dae/Lee Hyo Jung in a threeset thriller, 24-22, 20-22, 21- 15.
Though world number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei levelled the tie at 1-1 after beating Jung Yung Soo 21-9, 21-13, the much anticipated point from the men’s doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong turned into a disappointment as they were soundly beaten by Lee Yong Dae/Jung Jae Sung in straight sets 21-16, 21-16.
With the score 2-1 in favour of South Korea, Wong Mew Choo came on court to again level the tie at 2-2 after beating Hwang Hye Youn 21- 10, 17-21, 21-17 but the joy was short-lived when the women’s doubles turned out to be a one-sided affair as the South Korean pair swept aside Wong Pei Tty/Chin Eei Hui, currently ranked world number one, with relative ease.
The Korean pair, Lee Kyung Won/Lee Hyo Jung, silver medallists in Beijing, won 21-8, 21-15 to put a major dent on Malaysia’s aspiration of making it to the semi-finals.
“Our best was not good enough today. The Koreans had the edge in the doubles and that made all the difference. We knew we could rely on Chong Wei and Mew Choo to deliver two points but we still needed one more and we thought we can get it from the men’s doubles.“ But frankly the Korean pair were in superb form.
Congratulations to them. They deserve their win and for us we are still hopeful of making it to the last four.
That’s our target anyway,” said team manager Datuk Maijol Mahap.
In a Group B match, Indonesia whipped Japan 4- 1 to make a flying start to the competition.— Bernama