PETALING JAYA: Rejuvenated Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong may have faltered in the men’s doubles final of the Yonex Thailand Open but they are still wearing a big smile.
The duo missed out on a major victory by a whisker when they lost 16-21,23-21,19-21 to Taiwan’s Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin in a pulsating 65-minute match at the Impact Arena yesterday but they have regarded the runners-up finish as a “breakthrough”.It’s their first major final appearance since winning the 2016 Superseries Finals in Dubai.
“To be able to reach a first major final in five years is a breakthrough for us, ” said Wee Kiong.
They had beaten two Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) top pairs Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani en route to the final.
Despite the good start to the year, the world No. 14 refused to get carried away.
“We want to start afresh in the next Thai Open this week, ” said Wee Kiong, who will take on South Korea’s Lee Yong-dae-Kim Gi-jung in the first round.
“Nowadays, the men’s doubles field is extremely competitive. You’ve got to play every match like it’s a final if you want to win it.”
Wee Kiong, however, admitted that they did let slip of a golden opportunity to add an eighth title to their names.
After dropping the opening game, Wee Kiong-V Shem staged a remarkable comeback in the second game by saving two match points at 18-20 to force a decider. And it looked as though the Malaysians were about to pull it off when they clawed from 13-19 in the decider to 19-20, but it was the Taiwanese, who hung on to finish off the match.
Their defeat was the third against Lee Yang-Chi-lin, who also denied them a title in their last final at the 2019 Korean Masters.
“They played very fast in the beginning but we managed to catch up in the end of the second game. We tried to follow their pace but they were more consistent, ” said Wee Kiong.
“It was a wasted opportunity... we were just two points away from glory after that comeback. We’ll try to end our losing streak against them next time.
The victory was a perfect birthday gift for Lee Yang, who turns 26 today.
“We’ve been classmates in the elementary school since we were 10. Of course, he knows it’s my birthday tomorrow (today), so winning feels great, ” said Lee Yang.
“But we’ve only played as a pair since 2019, so it’s just two years together, but we’ve grown. We’ve more power and better defence. We want to keep it going.”
Chi-lin revealed that their friendship over the years had helped in their partnership.
“Back then in school, Lee Yang was short and fat but even then, he was good at badminton, ” added Chi-lin.
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