In the opening match of Thomas Cup Preliminary Round, Malaysian shuttlers had to struggle hard to beat Hong Kong team as they won the match with a narrow 3-2 margin, on Tuesday, February 14, in Macau.
However, despite their victory, Malaysia’s Men’s Singles were exposed as they lost two out of three fights to Hong Kong. Besides the World Number One Lee Chong Wei, both other shuttlers including Muhammad Hafiz Hashim and Daren Liew failed to win their battles.
It is quite alarming for Malaysia players as they will meet South Korea in the last group match today.
Koreans are superior in Men’s Doubles and Malaysian shuttlers need to win at least two points in Men’s Singles fights if they want to win the match.
Chong Wei and Koo Kien Keat, Tan Boon Heong won their opening matches against Hong Kong. However, in the second Men’s Singles battle, Hafiz Hashim failed to live up to expectations and lost to Hu Yun of Hong Kong in straight games.
The World Number 33 Hafiz Hashim could not play his normal game as his rival put up superb show of flawless badminton. Yun won the match without losing a single game to Malaysian opponent.
While talking about his defeat, Hafiz Hashim said that he committed many unforced errors and also failed to find a good flow.
He said, "I should have won the first game but Hu Yun came back and won 22-20. He didn't allow me to play my own game. My shoulder is fine. It was just that Hu Yun never allowed me to settle into a rhythm. There were also unforced errors and my judgement was poor."
While talking about Hafiz Hashim’s performance, the coach, Rashid Sidek said that the Malaysian lost because his rival’s technique was good.
The coach said, "Hu Yun's skills and tactics were good and he managed to neutralise Hafiz's performance. However, we are glad to beat Hong Kong and confirm a place in the last eight.”
In the second Men’s Doubles contest, Lim Khim Wah and Goh V Shem toppled Wong Wai Hong and Lee Chun Hei in straight games.
However, in the third Men’s Singles contest, Daren Liew played well against Chan Yan Kit but failed to overpower the Hong Kong shuttler and lost the match in three games.
Today Malaysia will meet South Korea and all Malaysian shuttlers need to perform well particularly in Men’s Singles fights if they want to beat Koreans in this crucial match.