It was end the end of the road for Malaysia in the mens’ and women’s team quarter-finals today as they were defeated by India and Thailand respectively at the Happening Hyderabad Badminton Asia Team Championships 2016.
The mens’ team fought hard till the very last match but unfortunately, it was not good enough to win in the deciding match. However, Malaysia will not have to be very worried as there is a very high possibility for them to qualify for the Thomas Cup Finals based on the team’s overall ranking.
Iskandar Zulkarnain who played the second singles was once again the reason for Malaysia to play till the fifth match after his displayed an excellent game to beat World No.25, Ajay Jayram in three games, 17/21, 21/12, 21/16.
Earlier, Malaysia’s first singles, Zulfadli Zulkifli had lost to India’s top player, Kidambi Srikanth 14/21, 15/21 in forty minutes.
As for the first doubles, Low Juan Shen/ Tan Kian Meng, despite being the underdogs, the Malaysians who are currently ranked No. 145 in the world did not show any sign of fear when they battled against the more experienced Manu Attri/ Sumeeth Reddy before eventually going down, 10/21, 22/20, 16/21 in fifty minutes.
Malaysia’s second doubles, Ong Yew Sin/ Teo Ee Yi should also be given credit for defeating a higher ranked pair in the fourth match to bring Malaysia to a 2-2 tie. In the final match, Soo Teck Zhi who also made sure that he fought till the end did well but it was too late as he only started speeding up in the second game. He lost to Pranoy S.H, 12/21, 20/22, hence giving the third and winning point for India.
The womens’ team however could not defeat the Thais who have 2013 world champion, Ratchanok Intanon and 2015 SEA Games champion, Busanan Ongbumrungphan to play the first and second singles in the team.
The womens’ doubles of Sapsiree Taerattanachai/ Puttita Supajirakul were also the winners against Malaysia’s top pair, Vivian Hoo/ Woon Khe Wei, hence giving Thailand a 3-0 win against Malaysia.
Despite losing in the quarter-finals, it was surely a valuable experience for Malaysia as competing in a team event always teaches about unity, team spirit and working together.