BIRMINGHAM: It was almost a disastrous start for Malaysia’s new No. 1 pair Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong in the first round of the All-England.
The world No. 8, who are leading the doubles charge following Koo Kien Keat’s resignation from the BA of Malaysia (BAM), were made to slog for a 19-21, 21-13, 21-4 win over Hong Kong qualifiers Chan Yun Lung-Lee Chun Hei in the first round on Wednesday.
Despite leading 15-7 in the first game, a stretch of errors allowed the young Hong Kong pair to bounce back to steal the game 21-19.
Fortunately, the fifth-seeded Thien How-Wee Kiong fought back to take the second game 21-13 before blowing their opponents out of the water in the deciding rubber to seal their last-16 slot.
The pair, whose best All-England showing was a quarter-final appearance last year, will need to step up their game if they aim to equal or better that.
“Consistency has always been our biggest problem ... the first match of any tournament is always the toughest,” said Wee Kiong.
“I was slow to get started in the first game, which is why we gave away such a big lead.
“Luckily, Thien How did a good job covering for me and we managed to fight back. We definitely need to work on our communication and understanding if we aim to push further this year.”
Thien How feels that they should focus on one match at a time.
“It’s good to know that we are the number one pair in Malaysia but that’s the least of our concerns,” said the stocky Thien How.
“Our focus is to keep on playing well and improve our performances in every match.”
Thien How-Wee Kiong will meet either Japan’s Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata or Poland’s Adam Cwalina-Przemyslaw Wacha in the second round.