Defending champions and men’s doubles top seeds Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto were gracious in defeat after a surprise first round result at PERODUA Malaysia Masters 2023 presented by DAIHATSU.
The Indonesian world No.1s started as favourites against Koreans Kang Min Hyuk/Seo Seung Jae but succumbed in straight games, losing 21-16 21-19 after 40 minutes.
Alfian/Ardianto praised their opponents for arriving more prepared.
“We only touched down yesterday but that’s not an excuse for the loss,” said Alfian. “They played better and controlled the match well. We lacked our usual explosiveness.”
Ardianto agreed: “They were fast off the blocks. We had a slow start and were shaky so they took advantage to impose their game.”
Kang and Seo, both part of Korea’s Sudirman Cup squad that finished runners-up to China in Suzhou on Sunday, proceed to a tie against Akira Koga/Taichi Saito, who outlasted Su Ching Heng/Ye Hong Wei 18-21 21-18 21-14.
In a later match, second seeds Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik almost suffered a similar fate against Alfian/Ardianto’s compatriots Pramudya Kusumawardana/Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob Rambitan but held on to record an edgy 21-18 10-21 23-21 win.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Sudirman Cuppers Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi and Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota put the disappointment of losing a close semifinal to China behind them to check into the second round.