OUE Singapore Open 2017

Confidence low for off-form duo

World No. 4 pairing and reigning Olympic silver medallists Malaysia's Goh V Shem (top) and Tan Wee Kiong crashing out 15-21, 15-21 to unseeded Indonesian duo Hardianto Hardianto and Berry Angriawan in the Singapore Open men's doubles quarter-finals.
World No. 4 pairing and reigning Olympic silver medallists Malaysia's Goh V Shem (top) and Tan Wee Kiong crashing out 15-21, 15-21 to unseeded Indonesian duo Hardianto Hardianto and Berry Angriawan in the Singapore Open men's doubles quarter-finals. Both Goh and Tan have been struggling for any semblance of good form this year.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

If confidence can be measured in a tank, the one belonging to Olympic silver medallists Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong appears in need of refuelling.

The Malaysian world No. 4 pairing were left crestfallen after another early exit this year, losing 15-21, 15-21 to Indonesia's Hardianto Hardianto and Berry Angriawan in yesterday's Singapore Open men's doubles quarter-final.

The defeat meant the second seeds, both 27, have not progressed beyond the last eight in their four events this year, despite having triumphed at last year's season-closer, the Dubai World Superseries Finals.

While admitting they have been receiving more attention both off and on the court after their exploits in Brazil, Tan acknowledged the limelight was not an excuse for their recent poor form.

He said: "We wanted to win too much. It is something we have to adjust to. The Olympics and Dubai are over, we need to rediscover the mentality we had."

With greater prominence has come greater scrutiny, as opponents devise ways to outfox them. Goh said: "The Indonesians today altered their style of play to contain us. We need to respond to it."

Goh felt last week's shock Malaysia Open first-round loss in Kuching had affected them. He said: "Our confidence hasn't been great since we lost in Malaysia. It has been hard to maintain our own play on court. Our style has changed when our self-belief fell."

There were instances during their match-up where the duo displayed a lack of on-court understanding. In the second game, they both left the shuttle to the other and gifted an easy point to their opponents.

With a packed schedule - their next competition will be the Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, China later this month - there is little time to rediscover the chemistry that saw Tan and Goh claim the No. 1 ranking last year.

Goh said: "Right now, we want to face each round as it comes. We need to regain our confidence."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2017, with the headline 'Confidence low for off-form duo'. Print Edition | Subscribe