THE absence of coach Jeremy Gan was felt when only one mixed doubles pair survived the first round in the World Championships yesterday.
The more experienced Koo Kien Keat-Ng Hui Lin made it to the second round after a 21-15, 21-14 win over Taiwan’s Hsieh Yu-hsing-Chien Yu-chin.
But it was all over in the mixed doubles for two other back-up pairs Ong Jien Guo-Sabrina Chong and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying.
Debutants Jien Guo-Sabrina overcame a jittery start to go down fighting before losing 11-21, 20-22 to fourth seeded He Hanbin-Yu Yang of China.
In fact, in the game, the duo put up a solid show and even took a 20-18 lead but scuppered the lead due to their inexperience and allowed the Chinese to run away with four straight points for victory.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying ran out of steam after a good start in both games before going down 16-21, 12-21 to the mighty third seeds Zheng Bo-Ma Jin of China.
Yesterday, Sabrina said how she missed coach Jeremy.
Jeremy is under a 48-hour observation after being admitted to hospital for fever and sore throat.
“Now, I know what is the difference of a world championships and other Open tournaments. I was so tensed and was not able to play my own game,” said Sabrina.
“It would have been good if Jeremy was around. He used to shout at me when I get my game all wrong. I really felt his absence.
“But Jien Guo was so supportive and we managed to come out of our jittery start. It is a great experience for me,” she said.
Said Jien Guo: “We we so close of taking a game from the China pair. It is so disappointing to lose narrowly. We still have a long way to go.”
Peng Soon-Liu Ying said that they would be out to narrow the gap with the China pair in the next two years.
“We could have played better. But playing against a China pair for the first time was good and we know where we stand against them. We have to work harder.”
Kien Keat was pleased with his win with Hui Lin and said: “Finally, I enjoyed my game very much. I was able to step up and take every shot well.”
“I used to put so much pressure and struggled to win. But today, our rhythm of play was good. I hope to keep up with this momentum,” he added.