MALAYSIA’s pride in badminton was dealt a big blow at the Tan Binh Sports Centre in Ho Chi Minh City last night. Their men’s team, who were at full strength, suffered the humiliation of going down to the Indonesian second stringers in the semi-finals. What was expected to be a stroll for the top seeds and defending champions ended in defeat in the first three matches of the tie. Malaysian number one Wong Choong Hann, the rejuvenated veteran doubles pair of Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and the Games men’s singles title holder Mohd Roslin Hashim (pic) were all brought down to earth by their opponents. Indonesia hardly felt the absence of their top singles player Taufik Hidayat and their number one pair of Candra Wijaya-Halim Hariyanto. Two-time Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) winner Sony Dwi Kuncoro set Indonesia on the road to victory with a 15-10, 15-7 win over Choong Hann. After losing three consecutive times to Choong Hann this year, Sony came well-prepared to stage one of his more remarkable attacking games to beat the Taiwan Open champion. Said a dejected Choong Hann: “I knew it would be tough against Sony and as expected it was a very tight first game. After we tied at 9-9, he pulled away when I committed several mistakes.” Choong Hann played a poor second game and Sony, who had beaten Choong Hann only once this year in the Swiss Open in March, punished the Malaysian with sharp smashes and raced to a 13-2 lead and wrapped up the match easily at 15-7. After Choong Hann’s defeat, it was left to China Open runners-up Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah to even the tie for Malaysia. But the duo squandered a 12-5 lead in the first game of their match against the Indonesian third ranked pair of Luluk Hadiyanto-Alven Yulianto and eventually lost the match at 15-12, 15-5. It was all on Roslin to save Malaysia the blushes but he suffered the embarrassment of losing 8-15, 17-14, 15-11 to 18-year-old Simon Santoso. Choong Hann said that they had no excuse for their failure to beat an under-strength Indonesia. “The Indonesians had nothing to lose and they went all out. But there should be no excuse on how we played today. It was totally disappointing. We have to make amends in the individual events,” he said. The results of the two dead matches – the second doubles and third singles – were not available at press time.