PETALING JAYA: It was a triple blow for Malaysia in the Vietnam Open, losing in all the final matches they contested in at Ho Chi Minh City yesterday.
However, Chong Wei Feng, Hoon Thien How-Ong Soon Hock and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying went down fighting in the men’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles finals respectively.
Wei Feng gave Vietnam No. 1 Nguyen Tien Minh a run for the money, losing a 55-minute match 7-21, 21-19, 14-21.
“I tried my best to win my first Open title but it did not happen here,” lamented Wei Feng in a telephone interview.
“I had a slow start in the decider and that was the main problem. I tried to catch up but it was not good enough. But overall, I think I had a good outing here. It feels good to reach my first final.”
Wei Feng now has the benefit of training under former world champion Hendrawan from Indonesia.
“I am playing better tactically and mentally, I am stronger now. I still need to improve on quality in training and I am confident that good results will come eventually,” he said.
Coach Jeremy Gan felt that Malaysia could have won the two doubles finals had Peng Soon-Liu Ying and Thien How-Soon Hock stayed steady in the crucial stages.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying held a good lead in the first game against the scratch Indonesian-Taiwan combination of Flandy Limpele-Cheng Wen-hsing but went down 23-25, 19-21.
“They played well but still lacked the experience to deal with the situation well in crucial stages,” said Jeremy.
“They have to be more consistent and confident and hopefully, they will also gain in mental strength. They have to work on these areas to mount strong challenges in the Laos SEA Games.”
It was an agonising defeat for Thien How-Soon Hock, who went down 19-21, 20-22 to Indonesians Luluk Hadiyanto-Joko Riyadi in a 40-minute final. They could have forced a rubber game but failed to press home despite taking a 20-16 lead.
“I think, they could have won if they were more aggressive in the second game. We had players in three final but will return home without a title. That is unfortunate,” said Jeremy.