SINGAPORE - The national men's shuttlers put up a brave fight on their return to the Thomas Cup, before losing 4-1 to defending champions Indonesia in their Group A opener on Sunday (May 8).
After finishing joint-third at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in February, Singapore qualified for the prestigious Thomas Cup for only the third time apart from 1986 and 2014.
Led by Loh Kean Yew, Singapore looked unfazed as the world No. 9 despatched fifth-ranked Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 21-13, 21-14 in 37 minutes at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
The 24-year-old looked in total control in the first singles match as he beat a higher-ranked player for the first time since he was crowned world champion in December.
Buoyed by the solid start, 56th-ranked pair Loh Kean Hean and Terry Hee also threatened a surprise in the first doubles match, and took world No. 8 duo Fajar Alfian and Rian Ardianto to a decider before losing 21-14, 19-21, 21-12 in 47 minutes.
In the second singles, 88th-ranked Jason Teh clawed his way back from 14-8 down to lead 16-14 in the first game, but defending Asian Games champion and world No. Jonatan Christie showed his experience by snuffing out the challenge and winning 21-19, 21-13 in 45 minutes.
Indonesia sealed overall victory in the second doubles after world No. 21 Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana beat 119th-ranked Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Andy Kwek 24-22, 21-14 in 38 minutes, but not before they were pushed hard and had to save two game points in the opening game.
In the third singles, world No. 225 Joel Koh kept pace early on against 24th-ranked Shesar Hiren Rhustavito before losing 21-16, 21-7 in 35 minutes.
Singapore will face South Korea on Monday, before taking on hosts Thailand on Wednesday.