PETALING JAYA: It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but Malaysia may have to admit that the European mixed doubles shuttlers are now a force to be reckoned with on the international stage.
Yesterday, the world No. 12 Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie were made to eat humble pie when they lost 17-21,9-21 to world No. 15 Thom Gicquel-Delphine Delrue of France in a Group B match of the World Tour Finals at the Impact Arena.
Gicquel-Delrue, both 22, had also upset Indonesia’s world No. 8 Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Emanuelle 14-21,21-14,21-17 in the opening fixture on Wednesday.
With the two victories, the French pair are virtually assured of their second semi-final appearance in Bangkok having achieved their first at the Yonex Thailand Open two weeks ago.
The emergence of Gicquel-Delrue is not a one-off thing as they have been making heads turn. Last year, they defeated the likes of Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai and Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan-Melati Oktavianti en route to the Indonesian Open semi-finals in January.
Soon Huat-Shevon have a chance to make up for their tame loss when they face Hafiz-Gloria today. They have to beat the Indonesians to book their first semi-final in their second Finals appearance, having failed to clear the group stage last year.
Shevon admitted they had played below par so far as their sluggish performance were also evident in their 14-21,21-18,21-18 win over Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herttrich on Wednesday.
“I’m really disappointed with my own performance today, ” lamented Shevon.
“We made too many mistakes... I didn’t prepare mentally and physically well today and that affected me.
“I just couldn’t do what I use to do on the court today.”
The women’s doubles contest saw both Malaysian pairs Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean and Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen falling flat against their more illustrious opponents.
Mei Kuan-Meng Yean were no match for South Korea’s Lee So-hee-Shin Sheung-chan as they went down 15-21,17-21 while Vivian-Cheng Wen were whipped 17-21,7-21 by Indonesia’s Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu.