INDONESIAN Taufik Hidayat (pic)
is rated as the strongest player at second singles but his jaded performances in his matches thus far has only brought smiles to the rivals.
Indonesia booked a place in the quarter-finals from Group D with victories over Thailand (3-2) and Germany (5-0). Taufik lost to Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk on Sunday and did better yesterday Dieter Domke but he was still far from impressive.
In the quarter-finals tomorrow, Indonesia will take on the winner of today's ties between England and Nigeria.
Taufik has pledged to bounce back from jittery starts to help Indonesia regain the Cup they last won in 2002 in Guangzhou.
“The Thai boy played well. I gave my best but I just could not pull it off despite the strong support from the home fans,” he said.
“My only excuse is that my form is not at its best. I am finding it hard to keep the fire burning. I am a family man now and people must understand that I cannot be at my best all the time. I am not a robot.”
Taufik added that he would only get better.
“I played better today. I am confident that I will only improve. This is my last Finals and I will find enough courage and strength to help Indonesia to go all the way. I owe it to the fans,” he said.
On his defence of the Olympic title in Beijing in August, he said: “I can win it if I want it. For now, I just need to work on getting the feel of the game.”
The second ranked players in teams of the other top contenders are Peter Gade-Christensen (Denmark), Lee Hyun-il (South Korea), Wong Choong Hann (Malaysia) and Bao Chunlai (China).
Taufik will have to raise his game if he were to meet Gade-Christensen or Hyun-il in a projected semi-final tie.
The other singles players in the Indonesian team are Sony Dwi Kuncoro, Simon Santoso and Tommy Sugiarto.