KUALA LUMPUR: Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari let slip the chance to become the country’s most successful shuttlers in Super Series tournaments this year when they narrowly lost in the final of the Hong Kong Open yesterday.
Zakry-Fairuzizuan were beaten 23-25, 21-19, 20-22 by South Koreans Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung after putting up a tenacious fight in an nail-biting one-hour final match.
If not for several sloppy and poor returns in the crucial stage, Zakry-Fairuzizuan could have trooped out with their third Super Series title this season after the back-to-back win in Singapore and Indonesia in June.
The Hong Kong Open is the 12th and final leg of the Super Series this season and one other Malaysian shuttler won two titles this year — world number one Lee Chong Wei in the men’s singles of the Malaysia and Singapore Opens.
Fairuzizuan was happy that they were able to give the more fancied Koreans a run for their money.
“We are aware that they are fast and deadly in their attacks. Instead of lifting the shuttle, we kept it low. Our tactic worked and we were able to keep pace with them,” said Fairuzizuan in a telephone interview.
“In the past, we had difficulty returning their attacks but this time, we managed to make them sweat on several occasions. But at the end, we put ourselves in trouble. In our excitement to win, we made several mistakes.”
Fairuzizuan, however, chose to look at the bright side.
“This is our best performance after a long time. We needed this to boost our morale. At least, we know that we have what it takes to give the top players a good fight,” he said.
“Now we must try to be consistent. It will be good if we can reach at least the quarter-finals in all other future tournaments.”
Zakry, however, was frustrated over the narrow defeat.
“It’s frustrating to make silly mistakes when it mattered most. Our coach (Rexy Mainaky) was calling out for us to relax and play a more patient game. But we lost control towards the end,” he said.
“But this defeat has fuelled the fire in me to go all out at the Super Series Masters Finals (in Kota Kinabalu from Dec 18-21). It will be our last tournament this year and we want to win it.”
The Finals feature eight pairs and Zakry-Fairuzizuan qualified as the second ranked combination in the Series standings.
Meanwhile, China’s badminton couple, Lin Dan and Xie Xingfang, both lost in the final. Lin Dan was beaten 9-21, 21-9, 17-21 by compatriot Chen Jin while Xingfang fell to a 16-21, 21-10, 10-21 defeat by Wang Chen of Hong Kong.