SINGAPORE: After the euphoria of beating defending champions Eng Hian and Flandy Limpele in the quarter-finals on Friday, the Malaysia doubles pair of Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah came unstuck in the semi-finals against newly crowned world champions Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen, falling 14-17, 15-12, 2-15.
The Malaysians have only themselves to blame for the defeat to the pair who set up a rare all-Danish final. Earlier, top seeds Jens Eriksen and Martin Lundgaard Hansen stopped the English pair of Anthony Clark and Nathan Robertson in another three-game thriller, winning 7-15, 15-5, 15-13.
Tan Fook and Wan Wah were a bundle of nerves, making mistake after mistake both with their service and smashes. They allowed the their opponents to come back from the brink of defeat in the first game and win 17-14.
The Malaysians were up 14-10 but after five change of services, they were not able to find the “Devil's Point.”
In the end, the Danes took five points on a single service and walked away with a 17-14 win in 27 minutes, with.
The Malaysians threw themselves a lifeline with some aggressive attacking play in the second game. The Danes were up 3-1 and then 6-4 but the Malaysians moved in front at 8-7 and then 11-7. A flurry of mistakes saw the Danes tie the score at 11-11 but Tan Fook and Wan Wah wrapped it up the set at 15-12 in 23 minutes to force a rubber.
But Sports Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein, who flew in for the match, and two busloads of Malaysian fans were bitterly disappointed in the rubber as the Malaysians meekly surrendered 2-15 in just 13 minutes.
National doubles coach Yap Kim Hock, however, had no complaints.
“I am proud of them. They have come back together since December and what was seen in Singapore is a big, big improvement of what you saw in January when they even lost to the Thai second pair in January.
“We have got to worker harder on our physical fitness but the signs are there ... we can take on the world's best.”
Meanwhile the Chinese showed their might in the men's and women's singles as made it an all-Chinese affair in today's final.
In yesterday's men's singles semi-finals, defending champion and hot favourites Chen Hong brushed aside compatriot, unseeded Lin Dan with a 15-8, 15-11 win while 11th seeded Korean Lee Hyun ll fell to another unseeded Chinese Chen Yu. Chen Yu won 15-11, 15-11.
Bad tempered former world number Camilla Martin failed to stop newly crowned world champion Zhang Ning in her semi-final despite taking the Chinese ace to three sets before losing 8-11, 11-9, 5-11.
In the final, Zhang Ning will meet compatriot Zhou Mi who upset second seeded Gong Ruina 11-5, 11-8.