KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's top men doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong have to make an honest assessment of where they stand in world badminton.
Three defeats in four months to Indonesia's second ranked pair is not a statistic that augurs well for their aspirations to qualify and win a medal at next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
V Shem-Wee Kiong went down 16-21, 13-21 to Angga Pratama-Ricky Karanda Suwardi of Indonesia in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open in Tokyo on Friday in just 29 minutes.
The duo, ranked 13th in the world, also lost to the same pair in the men's team event at the Singapore SEA Games in June and in the second round of the Taiwan Open in July.
The world No. 11 Angga-Ricky are currently Indonesia's second ranked pair behind two-time world champions and world No. 2 Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan.
The duo's loss marked the end of Malaysia's challenge in the Japan Open. On Thursday, Malaysia's top singles player Lee Chong Wei and top mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying crashed out in the second round.
V Shem admitted that they were blown away by the Indonesians' solid display at the front of the court.
"They have grown to be a strong pair. And it did not help that we played poorly. Wee Kiong and I could not get our game going today," lamented V Shem.
"We will find a way to end our losing streak against them," added V Shem, who will head to the Korean Open in Seoul next week.
Morten Frost, BAM's technical director, said that the consolation was that V Shem-Wee Kiong made it to their first quarter-finals in a Superseries event this year.
"We just have to accept that the Indonesians played much better. Pratama played a key role in the Indonesians' victory. He was controlling the game with so much confidence," said Frost.
"Our boys did well to reach the quarter for the first time but there is more work ahead for them," said Frost.
In the last six legs of the Superseries, V Shem and Wee Kiong did not go beyond the early rounds, losing in the second round of the All-England and Indonesian Open and crashing out in the first round of the Malaysian Open, Singapore Open and Australian Open.