Sporadic chants of "Come on, Singapore" and "Singapura" echoed around the Indoor Stadium last night, as a crowd of about 500 stayed on to watch the final match of the day at the OUE Singapore Open.
But the support could do little to lift Singapore's mixed doubles pair Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo, who were comprehensively beaten 21-10, 21-14 by defending champions and world No. 5 Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir in the quarter-finals of the marquee badminton tournament.
After the match, Chrisnanta, 25, said: "We had a strategy because we had faced them several times before but, tonight, we didn't apply it at the start."
Neo, 27, added: "Maybe we had two different thoughts (on how to apply the strategy), we should have stuck with one plan and change it if it couldn't work.
"But, in the end, we were playing two different games, so maybe that caused some confusion."
The Singapore shuttlers were grateful for the support from the fans, though.
Chrisnanta said: "Thank you very much for the support, we could really feel the spirit when we played.
"It was really different from when we played in other countries."
The pair were the best-performing Singaporeans at the US$300,000 ($409,000) Badminton World Federation Superseries tournament, which ends tomorrow.
Singapore Badminton Association president Lee Yi Shyan said the shuttlers' performance in the tournament was "fair", and tempered medal expectations at the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games, which will be held here from June 5 to 16.
He said: "For our SEA Games, we are going to send a squad that are very young. I think our men's average age is only 22 and our women's about 20.
"In both the men's and women's teams, 50 per cent of the players are newly promoted from the national intermediate squad."
Their selection comes after the retirement of several senior players such as Ashton Chen, Gu Juan, Fu Mingtian, Terry Yeo and Yao Lei.
Younger players like Yeo Jia Min, Liang Xiaoyu, Ryan Ng and Elaine Chua have been promoted from the National Intermediate Squad and are likely to feature at the SEA Games.
Lee, who is also the Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and National Development, said: "Our motto to the players is to play our best. If we play our best and we put up a good fight, and you don't make unforced errors, people can tell."
"Many of the regional players have done well so far at the Singapore Open, and they have caused some upsets."
"But, the last time we went to Jakarta for the SEA Games (in 2011), we created surprises, too," he added, referring to Fu winning Singapore's first women's singles gold in the history of the event.
Lee also hopes to see good home support at the Games.
He said: "Home support is definitely crucial. When the players are so tense and every point counts, you'd want to hear a voice out there shouting for Singapore, shouting your name, cheering you on.
"That emotional support and connection is very crucial for players on the court. It will give our players a lot of moral support, and I would encourage our fans to come down and support our players."
This article was first published on April 11, 2015.
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