Saturday, May 15, 2010

Over for Malaysia

The Malaysian national team were overwhelmed by the Chinese today in the Thomas Cup semi-final, losing the tie after the first three matches went to the defending champions — in straight sets.

The Chinese came out with clear intentions of not only winning the tie but to show that the winning of the cup will be a mere formality for the team boasting some of the most exciting talents in world badminton.

World number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei was comprehensively beaten by Lin Dan 21-17, 21-8. Lee has been unbeaten so far in the tournament until this match against his nemesis Lin, who took only 47 minutes to win.

China will face Indonesia in the final on Sunday. The Indonesians beat Japan 3-1 in the first match of the day.

While Lin Dan was playing his normal game, Lee looked tense and failed to match his opponent at the net and kept sending the shuttle off the baseline.

Trailing behind 2-6, 6-14, 7-20 in the second set, Lin Dan gave a chance for Lee to add a point before sealing the match 21-8, through a drop shot.

Chong Wei said his earlier plan failed to materialise and he was uncertain in the first set.
“Everything did not work as planned. When Lin Dan was leading 9-16 in the first set, I was lost for direction, as though the court had become smaller and did not know where to send the shuttle.

“Lin Dan was also playing an aggressive game. Maybe I was too eager to win, but that is not the reason for my defeat,” he told reporters today.

Meanwhile, Lin Dan said both of them were playing under pressure as both teams wanted them to deliver the first point, to open the final path for their respective teams.

“I could feel Chong Wei was tense. Maybe, after 18 years since Malaysia last won the Cup, Chong Wei was feeling the burden of bringing the coveted Cup home.

“And I’m happy to beat the Malaysian in his home ground,” said Lin Dan, who is one rung below the Malaysian in the world ranking.

The last time Chong Wei played Lin Dan was in the semifinal of the China Masters Championship in September last year where the Malaysian lost in three sets, 20-22, 21-15, 7-21.

Today’s loss widened the head to head record between Chong Wei and Lin Dan, to 6:14 in favour of the latter.

In the second tie, world number one pair, Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong also failed to justify their ranking, losing out 15-21, 10-21 in 36 minutes to world number eight pair, Cai Yun/Fi Haifeng.

The Chinese duo who had beaten the Malaysian pair in four previous tournaments, started today’s tie with confidence, leading the Malaysian pair, 4-9, 10-16 before sealing the first set 21-15.

In the second set, the Malaysians, especially Koo, made too many unforced errors, either his return stuck at the net or sent the shuttle off the baseline which caused them to lose 10-21 to their opponents.

Koo said the Chinese duo played better than them although he and Tan tried to change their tactic.

“Everything was not according to our earlier plan. We were not under pressure but we failed to catch up with their speed,” he told reporters.

In the third tie, Malaysia’s seasoned campaigner, Wong Choong Hann, failed to catch-up with the speed of China’s second singles, Chen Jin, bowing out 16-21, 7-21 in 41 minutes.

Choong Hann said he gave his best and tried to open-up the game but his opponent had the answer to all his tactics.

Meanwhile Chen Jin said the Malaysian was out of steam and he managed to force Choong Hann to run all over the court to force him into making unforced errors.

The Result
China-Malaysia 3-0

  •  Lin Dan bt Lee Chong Wei 21-17, 21-8;
  • Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng bt Koo Kean Keat-Tan Boon Heong 21-15, 21-10.
  • Chen Jin bt Wong Choon Han 21-16, 21-7.

Metzelder says: Overall the matches are controlled by Chinese players as Malaysian players failed to return easy shots and lack of speed.

THOUSANDS of cheering Malaysian fans created an electrifying atmosphere at the Putra Stadium.

The atmosphere over in Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil can be described in one word — great. Malaysian fans filled up 16,000 seats stadium with national flags, drums to support the national team.

But down before the semi finals, then came the outburst by greenhorn Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari.

The doubles player not only lost his match against Japan’s Kenichi Hayakawa-Kenta Kazuno, he also lost his cool under tremendous pressure with his abrupt retaliation when he tried to pick a fight with a fan in the crowd who fired unpleasant abuses at him.

We must be fair to players - Playing for first time in the court is not easy task.

Most importantly, BAM should set-up better technical team with the support in funds and morale. I do believe more young players can be roped in and groom them to be world class. And new coaching tune up would revive the downfall of the national team.

Obviously my prediction for Malaysia to win the semis and enter final is wrong but they try all out. And losing 3-0 is not end route for them, take up the challenge and proved to the world.