Be tactically flexible

No way through: Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani lost 14-21, 12-21 to Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto of Indonesia in the semi-finals.

NATIONAL doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky watched in disbelief as both his top pairs Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani self destructed in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Rexy said that whenever their opponents find a way to counter their plan A, these players panic and give up without a fight.

Aaron-Wooi Yik lost 23-21, 21-9 to Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi of Japan while Sze Fei-Izzuddin were beaten 21-14, 21-12 by Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto of Indonesia.

For Aaron-Wooi Yik, it was their fifth defeat in seven meetings while Sze Fei-Izzuddin have lost six times in seven meetings against the Indonesian pair.

“When (Aaron-Wooi Yik) reach this stage, they tend to forget how to win. They go with a game plan and if their opponents break their rhythm, they just can’t respond. They have such complicated thinking,” said Rexy.

“They were leading 18-14, but once the Japanese pair started the fightback, Aaron-Wooi Yik started making mistakes and didn’t know what to do.

“When your plan A does not work, you should try your plan B or plan C. This is what other pairs are doing to beat Aaron-Wooi Yik.

“They need to be able to change their game but they have become too predictable and allow their opponents to win easy points. Just because you lose the first game, you should not just give up. They must learn to fight back.

“They can play well in the first round until the quarter-finals ... the last two matches should also be treated as the same.

“Sze Fei-Izzuddin are also getting stuck with the same problem. They don’t want to vary their game when they are in trouble.

“We normally have a game plan for each pair and sometimes, both pairs don’t even stick to this.

“We have been talking to them about this problem and have given so many solutions but on court, they are not applying it.”

Rexy also used veterans Hendra Setiawan-Mohammad Ahsan of Indonesia as the prime example as despite their age, they never threw away matches.

Hendra is 37 while Ahsan is 34 and the duo are still harbouring hopes of playing in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Aaron-Wooi Yik beat Hendra-Ahsan 21-13, 20-22, 21-19 in the quarter-finals.

“Look at Hendra and Ahsan. They are closing in on 40 but they never give up and keep trying different things and fight back. They were 6-13 down in the third game but clawed back and lost narrowly,” added Rexy.

“We have to show that we are not afraid and we must be willing to play hard.

“Learn from these top pairs and start changing. Be ready to change tactics if your initial tactic is not working.”

Aaron was frustrated with his performance in front of a capacity crowd but he did not blame it on pressure.

“We were leading but at crucial point, opponents started taking easy points from us. There were unforced errors at crucial stages and this is our biggest problem,” admitted Aaron.

“We have to sit down and analyse why this is happening. This usually happens in the semi-finals and also the final, and so far we have not found a solution. We need time and we need to discuss this issue with our coaches in order to bounce back.

“Pressure is not the problem. As top pairs, we have to handle it. It’s not an excuse.”

Both pairs will be aiming for redemption in the Malaysian Masters which starts tomorrow.

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