Coach giving strugglers Kian Meng-Pei Jing another chance

PETALING JAYA: National mixed doubles head coach Pang Cheh Chang is willing to give struggling Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing more time to get back on their feet.

The world No. 17 suffered another first-round exit at the Thailand Open on Tuesday to make it sixth on the trot since March.

Kian Meng-Pei Jing failed to live up to their status as the second seeds when they lost 14-21, 19-21 to Taiwan's scratch combination Lu Ching-yao-Hu Ling-fan.

They also exited the first rounds of the German Open and All-England in March, Asian Badminton Championships in April and Opens in Malaysia and Indonesia over the last two weeks.

Cheh Chang will not make any drastic changes not before the World Championships in Nanjing, China from July 30-Aug 5.

Instead, he aims to do whatever it takes to help Kian Meng and Pei Jing regain their form before the world meet.

"The coaches have tried to help them in many ways, including putting them on a new training programme, but nothing seems to work," said Cheh Chang, who took charge of the mixed department in May.

"I think they are too concerned about correcting their weaknesses and have forgotten what they are really good at.

"They are struggling but it has not reached a stage where we must do something drastic such as dropping them from the World Championships.

"We still have faith in them because they are still solid as a pair, but just lacking a breakthrough. We’ll help them get through these difficult times.

"I want to see them bounce back strongly in Nanjing and show they deserve to be there."

Meanwhile, the unseeded former international Chong Wei Feng stunned world No. 24 of Japan Kazumasa Sakai 23-21, 17-21, 21-11 to join Lee Zii Jia in the second round of the men's singles.

National No. 2 Zii Jia was made to sweat for 56 minutes before fending off spirited Russian Vladimir Malkov 21-11, 15-21, 21-16.

Zii Jia will face homester Suppanyu Avihingsanon while Wei Feng takes on Huang Yuxiang of China, who defeated another Malaysian independent shuttler Liew Daren in the other first round.

In the women's singles, Goh Jin Wei crushed Indonesia's Fitriani Fitriani 21-12, 21-9 to earn a meeting against top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.

The 18-year-old has yet to beat the world No. 2 in their last three meetings.



(Matches involving Malaysians only)

Men’s singles: Huang Yuxiang (Chn) bt Liew Daren 21-17, 21-18; Chong Wei Feng bt Kazumasa Sakai (Jpn) 23-21, 17-21, 21-11; Lee Zii Jia bt Vladimir Malkov (Rus) 21-11, 16-21, 21-16; Kantaphon Wangcharoen (Tha) bt Leong Jun Hao 19-21, 21-9, 24-22.

Men’s doubles: Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik bt Pakin Kuna-anuvit-Natthapat Tinkajee (Tha) 21-16, 21-16.

Women’s singles: Goh Jin Wei bt Fitriani Fitriani (Ina) 21-12, 21-9; Dinar Dyah Ayustine (Ina) bt Lee Ying Ying 21-17, 21-10; Soniia Cheah bt Nitchaon Jindapol (Tha) 21-16, 21-14.

Women’s doubles: Savitree Amitrapai-Pacharapun Chochuwong (Tha) bt Lim Chiew Sien-Tan Sueh Jeou 21-13, 23-21. 

Pang Cheh Chang