THE misery for Malaysia’s beleaguered doubles pair Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong continued at the Sudirman Cup yesterday.
The world No. 3 Kien Keat-Boon Heong took another huge beating to their morale when they went down 18-21, 18-21 in a horrid 31-minute match to Taiwanese Lee Sheng-mu-Tsai Chia-hsin.
Theirs was the first match during Malaysia’s opening Group A tie against Taiwan in the Sudirman Cup at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Malaysia had hoped for a flying start – as the duo had beaten the same pair en route to reaching the final of the Hong Kong Open last year but they failed – big time.
Their awful defeat came just two weeks after they to their younger compatriots Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem in the final of the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold tournament at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara.
Now, their confidence is seriously at their lowest ebb ahead of the World Championships in Guangzhou in August.
Kien Keat, dejected with their defeat, said that they did not underestimate the world No. 26 Taiwanese pair although they were a scratched combination.
“Our front court play was a letdown. We could not control them and their attacking play was good. We lost control,” lamented Kien Keat.
“No, we did not underestimate our opponents. Lee is a old timer and has been playing since the same time I started.”
The stocky Kien Keat said that although demoralised, he was not ready to give up his fight with Boon Heong with the world championships just three months away.
“I will play with Boon Heong as long as the trust is there. I admit that we seriously need a boost ahead of the world meet but the only way to do that is to never give up,” said Kien Keat.
“I am not panicking. After the Olympic Games in London, there was no expectations on us and we were enjoying ourselves. Now, when there is expectations, we are finding it hard.”
Boon Heong was utterly disappointed and he had left it to the coaches to determine his future in the ongoing Sudirman Cup mixed team event.
“This defeat has affected my confidence and I will leave it to the coaches to decide whom they want to field for the other ties,” said Boon Heong.
The coaches – Tan Kim Her and Paulus Firman – have the option of fielding Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem or Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong for the tie against Germany tomorrow.