Dou­bles let­down as Malaysia crash out

New Straits Times - - Sport - Fabian Peter

THE cru­cial men’s dou­bles match was once again the de­cid­ing fac­tor, as Malaysia crashed out in the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Sudirman Cup af­ter los­ing 3-1 to Ja­pan yes­ter­day.

Hav­ing lost 3-2 to Ja­pan in the group stage on Wed­nes­day, Malaysia knew that they had to win the open­ing match this time, or get knocked out.

Last year’s Rio Olympic Games sil­ver medallists Goh V ShemTan Wee Kiong, how­ever, failed to get the bet­ter of World No 5 Takeshi Ka­mura-Keigo Son­oda in their sec­ond en­counter this week, los­ing 21-17, 16-21, 21-11.

“Malaysia lost to Ja­pan, a bet­ter team on the day,” ad­mit­ted BA of Malaysia (BAM) tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Morten Frost.

“Once again we lost the cru­cial men’s dou­bles match and once again no way back.

“Lee Chong Wei kept us in the tie but un­for­tu­nately in vain.”

Chong Wei, who also lost his World No 1 spot to South Korea’s Son Wan Ho on Thurs­day, beat Kenta Nishi­moto 21-15, 21-13, af­ter No­zomi Okuhara had dou­bled the lead for Ja­pan with a 21-11, 219 win over Soniia Cheah in the sec­ond match.

Olympic cham­pi­ons Misaki Mat­su­tomo-Ayaka Taka­hashi, how­ever, put the fi­nal nail in the cof­fin when they saw off Vi­vian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei with an easy 21-7, 21-14 win to check Ja­pan into the last four stage, where they will face top seeds China next.

Favourites China had ear­lier beaten In­dia 3-0 in the quar­ter­fi­nals. The other semi-fi­nal match to­day sees South Korea play Thai­land.

“We must go home and train more and harder, to im­prove our short­com­ings. We must keep im­prov­ing our world stand­ing.

“Two years ago, we came into the tour­na­ment as No 10, this year No 5. To­mor­row is a new day and a new chance to fight back,” added Frost, who must next look into the team’s prepa­ra­tion ahead of the World Cham­pi­onships in Glasgow and the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games, both in Au­gust.

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