Sea Games 2019

No scalps for top duo but shuttlers retain bronzes

There were to be no giant-killing feats from Singapore's top shuttlers. World No. 29 Loh Kean Yew and No. 25 Yeo Jia Min lost in straight games in their SEA Games men and women's team semi-finals yesterday.

In the morning, Yeo lost 21-15, 23-21 to world No. 24 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung as Indonesia won 3-1 at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex in Manila.

In the afternoon, Loh fell 21-18, 21-12 to world No. 14 Lee Zii Jia in the 3-0 defeat by Malaysia.

After Singapore retained their two joint-bronze medals in the absence of third-place play-offs, the duo pledged to bounce back stronger in the singles events that start on Thursday.

Loh, who beat Chinese great Lin Dan to win the Thailand Masters in January, said: "I'm disappointed with myself today but I still want to thank our fans for their support.

"My opponent prepared better than I did and I didn't control the situation well. For the singles, I will watch my game videos and see what my mistakes were and improve from there."

Yeo, who stunned world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi and also reached the last eight of the World Championships in August, added: "I'm aware of the problems I'm facing, both physically and mentally, that meant I wasn't able to perform my best in the team event.

"I will do my best to overcome my problems and get back my condition over the next two days."

While the doubles pair of Jin Yujia and Nur Insyirah Khan also lost 21-8, 21-8 to Ni Ketut Mahadewi Istarani and Apriyani Rahayu, there was a bright spot for Singapore as world No. 99 Jaslyn Hooi upset No. 27 Fitriani 13-21, 21-16, 21-16.

But their resistance ended when Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti and Ribka Sugiarto beat Shinta Mulia Sari and Crystal Wong 21-15, 21-19.

Jaslyn Hooi, 19, was the only Singaporean to score a point in the badminton semi-finals yesterday. The world No. 99 upset No. 27 Fitriani 13-21, 21-16, 21-16 in the 3-1 loss to Indonesia in the women's team event. PHOTO: SPORT SINGAPORE

Team manager Jiang Yanmei said: "Jaslyn was steady in her singles. She was able to adapt at key moments and battled well during rallies. This win would have increased her confidence."

Terry Hee and Loh Kean Hean started their doubles match well, only to go down 20-22, 21-13, 21-16 to Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik. Similarly, world No. 211 Joel Koh took the opening game against world No. 62 Soong Joo Ven, but ended up losing 14-21, 21-8, 21-16.

Singapore doubles head coach Nunung Wibiyanto said: "Our opponents played well today, while our team were too excited and rushed. Our focus could be better."

In today's finals, Indonesia will meet defending women's champions Thailand, while Malaysia will face Indonesia in a repeat of the 2017 men's final.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2019, with the headline 'No scalps for top duo but shuttlers retain bronzes'. Print Edition | Subscribe