THE country’s top mixed doubles pair Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie failed to get past the first hurdle at the 2024 Thailand Open yesterday after falling to unseeded Thai pair Ruttanapak Oupthong-Jhenicha Sudjaipraparat.

Seeded third in the tournament, Soon Huat-Lai Jemie went down fighting to Ruttanapak-Jhenicha 21-19, 17-21, and 13-21 in 56 minutes.

The first set was closely contested, with both pairs fighting for every point. However, the Malaysian pair ranked number 16 in the world, were pushed to the limit, resulting in Soon Huat suffering an injury in the second set from which he never recovered.

Soon Huat, when met after the match, admitted he twisted his right ankle, which caused him to lose concentration during the game.

He said the injury slowed down his game and, despite seeking medical attention during the deciding game, it never fully recovered.

“My speed in the game was affected by the injury, but we continued to fight on. Obviously, we are disappointed with the result today, but we will be focusing on the next tournament, which is the Malaysia Masters next week,” he told Bernama here yesterday.

Both players said their aim this year is to qualify for the World Tour Finals in China.

On another court, the tournament’s top-seeded mixed doubles pair, Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand, lived up to their top billing by defeating Korean pair Kim Young Hyok-Lee Yu Lim in straight sets 21-17, 21-10, in 34 minutes.

Tomorrow, the Malaysian contingent led by national professional singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia will play against China’s Lei Lan Xi. Another men’s singles player, Leong Jun Hao, will play against Su Li Yang of Chinese Taipei.

The country’s sole representative in the women’s singles, K. Letshanaa, will open her campaign against the tournament’s sixth-seeded Supanida Katethong of Thailand in the first round.

In the men’s doubles competition, Arif Junaidi-Yap Roy King, will open their campaign against the tournament’s sixth-seeded pair Lu Ching Yao-Yang Po Han of Chinese Taipei while Choong Hon Jian-Muhammad Haikal will face Christopher Grimley-Matthew Grimley of Scotland, and Boon Xin Yuan-Goh V Shem will play against second-seeded pair Muhammad Shohibul Fikri-Bagas Maulana of Indonesia.

Another Malaysian men’s doubles pair, Low Hang Yee-Ng Eng Cheong, will play against Chiang Chien-Wei-Wu Hsuan Yi of Chinese Taipei, while Nur Mohd Azryn Ayub Azryn-Tan Wee Kiong will compete against the tournament’s top-seeded pair, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty of India.

Beh Chun Meng-Goh Boon Zhe will be up against Daniel Lundgaard-Mads Vestergaard of Denmark, and Chia Weijie-Liew Xun will play against Pharanyu Kaosamaang-Worrapol Thongsa-nga of Thailand.

In the mixed doubles, Malaysia’s Yap Roy King-Valeree Siow will play against Lui Chun Wai-Fu Chi Yan of Hong Kong, while Choong Hon Jian-Go Pei Kee will face Neuaduang Mangkornloi-Atitaya Povanon of Thailand.

Malaysia did not send any participant for the women’s doubles this year.

Due to tight scheduling and the looming Olympics, many star players and pairs have skipped the Thailand Open and the Super 500 Malaysia Masters next week to focus on the Super 750 Singapore Open from May 28 to June 2 and the Super 1000 Indonesia Open from June 4 to 9.