3rd August, 2012
SO FAR SO GOOD … Koo Kien Keat (right) and Tan Boon Heong play against Thailand's Isara Bodin/Jongit Maneepong Bodin Isara.
LONDON: World number eight pair, Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong have booked a semi-final slot of the Men’s Doubles after beating Thailand’s pair in the quarter-finals of the 2012 Olympics, held at the Wembley Arena, here, yesterday.
The Malaysians beat Isara Bodin/Jongit Maneepong 21-16, 21-18 in 43 minutes to set a date with world number two pair, Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng of China in Saturday’s semi-finals.
The Great Wall shuttlers defeated their compatriots, Chai Biao/Guo Zhendong 21-15, 21-19 in another quarter-final match, yesterday. In the first set, the Malaysians led all the way for the match point, leading 9-0, 15-7, 19-13 before giving away three easy points to the Thais, who are world number 19.
Koo/Tan, however, managed to collect another two points to seal the game with a score of 21-16 in 17 minutes.
In the second set, the Malaysians were also leading all the way with 5-2, 12-5, 15-7 until the match point.
At 18-14, the Malaysians seemed under pressure to finish the match early which gave the Thai pair another three points for 19-17. Koo and Tan, however, justified their world ranking and experience, collecting another two points and sealed the game at 21-18 in 23 minutes. Koo said he was confident of beating the Thai duo although at the Olympic level, anything could happen.
“I had to sacrifice my sleep last night. Any slight noise would wake me up because I was thinking of today’s quarter-final challenge,” he said.
Against the Great Wall pair in Saturday’s semi-finals, Koo said he and Tan were just two steps away from the Olympic gold medal.
“We want to achieve the best in our career but we don’t want to pressure ourselves although the pressure in the semi-finals is more than in the quarter,” he said.
Their head-to-head record against Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng shows 4:9, in favour of the Great Wall shuttlers.
During their last meet this year, the Chinese pair beat the Malaysians 21-17, 21-18 in the Thomas Cup competition in China, in May.
National coach Tan Kim Her said he was quite relieved that his charges managed to beat their young neighbouring pair.
“Against Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng, it will be 50-50. But if they beat them, I can say that they will take the 2012 Olympic gold medal,” he said.
In another quarter-final match, Chung Jae Sung/Lee Yong Dae of South Korea beat Indonesians Mohamad Ahsan/Bona Septano 21-12, 21-16 and will meet Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen from Denmark in another semi-final on Saturday.
The Danish pair defeated Fang Chieh Min/Lee Sheng Mu from Taiwan 21-16, 21-18 in yesterday’s quarter-finals.