HOTSHOTS Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong went through a roller coaster ride before nailing the Malaysian Open men’s doubles title at the Putra Stadium here yesterday.
The top seeds came through some tense moments before prevailing over China’s Guo Zhengdong-Xu Chen 21-15, 17-21, 21-16 in a 55-minute final.
It was the second time that the duo won a title when they were ranked as the world No.1 pair. They also pulled off a similar feat at the Denmark Open last year.
Malaysia last won the men’s doubles title in the Malaysian Open through Kien Keat-Boon Heong in 2007. Then they went on to dominate the world doubles game for some time that year. Yesterday, the win did not come easy for the Malaysians with both Kien Keat and Boon Heong experiencing ups and downs in their game.
At times, Kien Keat will be so intelligent at the net and then squander easy points at the front.
Boon Heong was awesome in finding the empty space to hit down winners in the opening game but was awfully off in the second game.
It was a neck-and-neck battle in the decider and the tide turned in favour of the Malaysians after they took a 16-15 lead.
Lanky Xu Chen irritated the home fans by gesturing to the crowd to be quiet after taking the 15th point.
It riled up the crowd and provided the impetus for the Malaysians to rise to the occasion. And they did it in steely form to romp home for their first title of the year.
Kien Keat was happy that they came through the tough encounter against Guo-Xu.
“I was more focused in this match. Tactically, we were superior. Overall, it was a good win for us,” said Kien Keat.
“But I admit that we were inconsistent. This is something we have to work on. It is a good start to the year and will certainly boost our confidence to face the challenges ahead.
“After a short break for the Chinese New Year, we will resume training to get ready for the major tournaments.”
Boon Heong was happy that he managed to raise his game in the final.
“I am happy I produced my best in the final.
“I had problems with my smashes but fortunately, it got better at the end,” said Boon Heong.
Boon Heong-Kien Keat will compete in the National Grand Prix Finals in Johor Baru from Feb 4-7 before the Chinese New Year break.