Tan Boon Heong (left) is the utility doubles player in the Malaysian team at the Thomas Cup Finals in India. He is seen here partnering Hoon Thien How in the first Group C tie against India on Sunday.
NEW DELHI: Tan Boon Heong is set to become the utility doubles player as Malaysia seek to steal a precious point off 2012 Thomas Cup runners-up South Korea in their final Group C clash on Wednesday.
Boon Heong, whose regular partner Koo Kien Keat retired from the national team earlier this year, made his fifth Thomas Cup appearance with his former junior partner Hoon Thien How in Malaysia’s opening tie against India on Sunday.
Boon Heong-Thien How, who last played their way to the world junior title in Canada in 2004, beat Indian pair Sumeeth Reddy-Manu Attri 21-14, 21-11.
Boon Heong then partnered Tan Wee Kiong to edge Germany’s Johannes Schoettler Michael Fuchs 13-21, 21-17, 21-18 on Monday.
Boon Heong is expected to form a scratch pairing with Thien How again for the first doubles as Malaysia bid to overcome the Koreans to top the group.
Indications are that Myanmar SEA Games champions Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah will again return to playing as second doubles. They played together against Germany on Monday but V Shem partnered Tan Wee Kiong against India a day earlier.
The doubles is the strongest department for South Korea and it has carried them in the Thomas Cup in recent years.
Malaysia definitely need one of the two doubles pairs to deliver a point because if the tie goes down to the wire, things could get really dicey.
Malaysia do not have a dependable third singles player.
National doubles coach Pang Cheh Chang said the Koreans had the advantage but “they are not invincible”.
“The Korean combinations also struggled in the first two games but they are more stable. Maybe it’s because Lee Yong-dae and Kim Ki-jung have not played for some time due to the doping ban on them earlier,” said Cheh Chang.
“I believe that South Korea will not split their doubles pairs ... but we still have to focus on getting a point in the doubles.
“We will put out the best combinations tomorrow ... and keep our opponents guessing until then.”