Malaysia’s hopes of seeing a new men’s singles winner this year went up the smoke when Liew Daren and Zulfadli Zulkiffli crashed out in the semi-finals of the Indonesian Masters in Palembang.
On Saturday, Daren ran out of gas against India’s H.S. Prannoy, losing 14-21, 21-14, 14-21 in 58 minutes. Former world junior champion Zulfadli then went down 17-21, 15-21 to Indonesia Firman Abdul Kholik.
This year, only world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has triumphed in the men’s singles – having won at the Malaysian Open (January), All-England (March), India Open (April) and Japan Open (June).
The 27-year-old Daren knew it was all over when he trailed from the start in the decider.
“I was quite slow in the third game and could not catch up after being left quite far behind,” said Daren, who also lost to Prannoy in the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold in 2012.
“Overall, I did better than expected. After the Glasgow Commonwealth Games disappointment, reaching the semis of a Grand Prix Gold isn’t too bad.”
Daren, who was dropped from the Asian Games squad after losing in the quarter-finals at the Commonwealth Games, has not been entered for any other tournaments.
It was all over for Malaysia in the Grand Prix Gold tournament after Lee Meng Yean-Chow Mei Kuan also went down 19-21, 13-21 to Kesyha Nurvita Hanadia-Devi Tika Permatasari of Indonesia in the women’s doubles semi-finals - The Star online