Hee, Tan conjure match point but fall to No. 2 pair

Singapore's Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han taking China's All England champions Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong the distance in their Singapore Open round of 16 clash at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Singapore's Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han taking China's All England champions Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong the distance in their Singapore Open round of 16 clash at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Singapore mixed doubles pair Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han came within a whisker of a stunning upset before succumbing 21-17, 16-21, 20-22 to third seeds Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong in yesterday's Singapore Open round of 16 clash.

After leading the deciding game 19-15, Hee and Tan passed up match point at 20-19 and lost the next two.

The world No. 16 pair's exit ended the Republic's challenge in the competition.

Hee, who also put up a gallant effort with men's double partner Loh Kean Hean on Wednesday in their first-round loss to Indonesians Lukhi Apri Nugroho and Tedi Supriadi, was visibly dejected at the result. The 21-year-old lamented that they lost focus in the last game.

Hee said: "We were uncertain about our shots towards the last part. We wanted to win, but it made us hesitate a lot."

Tan and Hee forced their more illustrious opponents onto the back foot from the start, storming to a 5-0 lead in the opening game before winning 21-17.

But the second-ranked Chinese pair, crowned All England champions last month, regrouped and showed the quality that saw them capture the Indian Open title and reach the Malaysian Open final .

Huang, who partnered Lu to a runners-up finish here two years ago, said: "We felt pressured, especially when the Singapore team was leading by many points in the middle of the match. That affected us. But we continued to be confident, and persisted with our game plan."

Despite the defeat, Tan, 23, was encouraged by their display.

She said: "We were not expecting ourselves to have such a close fight. We actually succeeded our expectations so we are quite satisfied with our performance."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2017, with the headline 'Hee, Tan conjure match point but fall to No. 2 pair'. Print Edition | Subscribe