PETALING JAYA: One pair played it safe, the other lived dangerously.
But the end result was the same — a quarter-final exit for Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif in the men’s doubles of the All-England badminton championships in Birmingham on Friday.
Hopes were high on third seeds Kien Keat-Boon Heong to win their second All-England title but they went down 7-21, 17-21 to a fired-up Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark.
In the other error-strewn match, Fairuzizuan-Zakry crashed 9-21, 20-22 to South Koreans Hwang Ji-man-Han Sang-hoon.
Both the Malaysian pairs got off to horrendous starts in their opening games. They then tried to salvage some pride in the second game but in vain.
Their defeats dampened the mood of national doubles chief coach Rexy Mainaky, who had been hoping to celebrate his 41st birthday tomorrow on a joyous note.
Rexy felt that Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who had never lost to the Danish pair before, dug their own graves.
“I must commend the Danish pair for breaking our pair’s tempo right from the start of the first game,” Rexy said in a telephone interview from Birmingham yesterday.
“The Danes went on the offensive and had complete control while our boys started to panic when the game did not go their way,
“When our players had a good shot at the net, they tapped it softly. Instead of smashing, they tapped the shuttle in. They played too safe. Our pair crumbled as the first game progressed.
“Koo and Tan tried to chase the game after trailing 4-11 in the second game but to no avail.”
Rexy said it would be a challenge for Boe-Carsten to keep their momentum going. The duo also did well at the Korean Open in January when they emerged as the champions.
“Koo-Tan enjoyed a great year in 2007 and, now, they are still trying to achieve a similar run. It will now be a test for Boe-Carsten to keep up their good run,” he said.
Although Fairuzizuan’s performance was hampered by fever, Rexy refused to use it as an excuse.
“Fairuzizuan and Zakry started well in this tournament. But, suddenly, they appear to be stuck,” said Rexy.
“They were making the same mistakes although they knew that their strategy was not working. You have to change the way you attack your opponents if it does not work after a few tries.
“But they continued playing the same way although it was risky. They may be world class players but I did not see that quality in them today.”
Rexy hoped that Kien Keat-Boon Heong and Fairuzizuan-Zakry would make amends for the setbacks by doing well at next week’s Swiss Open in Basel.
“The best way for them to make amends after losing this way is to get their act right in Basel,” said Rexy.