Alor Setar: Malaysia have lost their 2018 Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC) first-group tie in Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium, Alor Setar, Malaysia after Iskandar Zulkarnain was defeated in straight sets by World No. 51 Kantaphon Wangcharoen, giving Thailand a 3-2 victory.
Men’s singles world No. 2 Lee Chong Wei got Malaysia to a strong start by beating World No. 29 Khosit Phetpradab 21-13, 21-9 to score the first point for the home team.
“Our team spirit is good at this team event, and as usual, I am the first singles player and I am ready to get our team to a good start,” said Lee.
However, World No. 13 and the 2017 Rio Olympic silver medalist Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong failed to pick up the second point by going down to Kittinupong Kedren/Dechapol Puavaranukroh 21-16, 19-21, 20-22.
“They made a lot of mistakes and their opponents are taking great advantage of their mistakes,” said the Malaysian men’s doubles coach Cheah Soon Kit.
Although the Alor Setar-born Lee Zii Jia played brilliantly to give Malaysia a 2-1 advantage by beating Suppanyu Avihingsanon 21-14, 21-12, the tie went down to the wire after Malaysia’s second men’s doubles pair Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi dropped their match to Tinn Isriyanet/Kittisak Namdash 17-21, 11-21.
“I need to sit down and talk to the players. I need them to bounce back, be more careful and more focused against Myanmar on Wednesday. Their performances are going to be critical against Taiwan on Thursday because the Taiwanese team has strong men’s doubles pairs,” added Cheah.
After Iskandar Zulkarnain’s defeat to Kantaphon Wangcharoen 13-21, 14-21 in the third men’s singles match, Sidek said he would consider to reshuffle the men’s singles lineup. It is highly possible that he would field Soong Joo Vern into Malaysia’s roster for the Myanmar tie.
In women’s team event, Malaysia defeated Vietnam 4-1 to meet Philippines on Wednesday.