SUDIRMAN CUP 2013 QF – Denmark’s 11th, Thailand’s first

In a repeat of the 2011 Sudirman Cup quarter-finals, Denmark claimed victory over Chinese Taipei, this time more easily than they did two years ago in Qingdao. Meanwhile, Thailand got […]

In a repeat of the 2011 quarter-finals, Denmark claimed victory over Chinese Taipei, this time more easily than they did two years ago in Qingdao. Meanwhile, Thailand got the better of Japan in a match where both teams strived to reach their first semi-final.

By Ooi Ee Lyn, Badzine Correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

This evening, there was a replay of the quarter-finals of the 2011 Sudirman Cup in Qingdao, where Denmark defeated Chinese Taipei for a spot in the semi-finals. Two years ago, it took the Danes four matches to remove the then dark horses from their way, with Lee Sheng Mu / Fang Chieh Min bagging a point for Chinese Taipei in the men’s doubles. This time around, Lee took the challenge with a new partner – Tsai Chia Hsin – against the same opponents. Carsten Mogensen / Mathias Boe (pictured left) were third to play, and they hammered home the victory for Denmark by triumphing over Lee / Tsai in straight games.

Earlier in the evening, Christinna Pedersen also brought with her a new partner to face off their former nemeses, Chen Hung Ling / Cheng Wen Hsing. The change of partnership did not change the fate of Pedersen – unlike for Lee in the mixed doubles. Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen started off well for the Danes by defeating Chen / Cheng 21-13, 21-16.

Jan Ø Jorgensen (pictured left) succeeded Peter Gade’s spot in mens’ singles, taking the second point for Denmark from Hsueh Hsuan Yi – who also lost his match in Qingdao. In a reflection of that match, Hsueh forced his opponent to a third game but again failed to grab the point for his team.

In the second game, I lost a bit of speed and got away from the net. He then took over the net and did lots of smashes. All about his game is his net and smashes – he has a really quality smash. What’s about that guy is that he either plays really well, or he just doesn’t play well.” commented Jorgensen.

He then shared his thoughts on Denmark’s semi-final match against China on Saturday, “China is a huge nation, and they’ve won so many times. Maybe they didn’t have their best day today, but it won’t happen twice in a row.

After beating Chinese Taipei 3-0, Danish coach Lars Uhre said, “Our goal is to win a medal here, and we’ve achieved that. We’re very happy so far. We know maybe it’s not this time that we’re going for the title, but if the chance is there, we will go for it. China was quite shaky, and they probably didn’t expect to go to the fifth match today. We didn’t want to get to the fifth match either, because it is going to be shaky for us.

Denmark is now in the Sudirman Cup semi-finals for the 11th time, and they are sure to be fielding their strongest team to play against China on Saturday for a chance to make it into what would be their third finals day.

Thailand – new name in semi-finals

Thailand was shy of making it out of the group stage in the previous edition of the Sudirman Cup, with a defeat by India and a more surprising loss to Chinese Taipei. This time in Kuala Lumpur, the Thais have finally set a new record by becoming the seventh country in 24 years to have their flag planted in the semi-finals round of the Sudirman Cup.

Saralee Thoungthongkam didn’t need to work again after winning the first point for Thailand with Sudket Prapakamol. Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk may have lost the second match to Kenichi Tago (pictured above), but Maneepong Jongjit / Nipitphon Puangpuapech and Ratchanok Intanon managed to close the curtains with Thailands 3-1 victory before Saralee was required to show up again, for the women’s doubles match.

After claiming the first and only point for Japan, Kenichi Tago said, “It may be our first time entering the semi-finals if we win, but it does not influence my performance today, because I’m only focusing on beating Thailand, not on entering the semi-finals. If we can get there, it would be an influence to our junior players. It’s not about creating history – it’s about putting a footstep forward for Japan.

On Thailand’s part, Ratchanok Intanon (pictured right) earned her point by beating Sayaka Takahashi (pictured below with coach Shoji Sato), a critical moment that could have changed the result of the fixture had she lost the match. The two young ladies each had a game, and the decider was neck-and-neck. In the end, it was the 18-year-old Thai who won the match for her country.

My match was very important for the team, so I was excited. I knew if I lose, the team may lose because Japan’s women’s doubles is stronger than us. Sayaka was good at defence and attack. There were many shots I made that could have killed her game, but she kept coming back, and I didn’t know what to do,” confessed Intanon.

Indonesia lost to China 0-5 in the group stage, and they made it to 2-3 in the quarter-finals. We hope we can do that too – the same, or better!” said Thai team manager Udom Luangphetcharaporn, laughing. “This may be our best result in the Sudirman Cup, but it is not quite our best team. We don’t have many reserve players that we can change for different matches. We can have a better team than this, but they all played very well today.

Park Joo Bong: You never know what could happen

For the other side, Japan’s head coach, Park Joo Bong, also had words to say. “We were expecting to win. It is our first time trying to get into the semi-finals. We had the chance in the mixed doubles. It was a good start, but we lost it, and the team’s mood was quite down. The main reason for today’s loss was because our men’s doubles who were expected to win had lost. Takahashi had a good fight against Intanon, but she didn’t manage to kill the last few points – she played too safely. She needs more experience in big tournaments.

Park Joo Bong then shared his analysis of the upcoming semi-finals. “China is strong, so of course they are the first choice. The second choice would be Korea. I think they are getting more and more confident with every match now. Indonesia had one of the toughest fighting spirits. Yes, China is the strongest team, but they lost to Korea in the Uber Cup in 2010, so you never know what can happen.

Thailand progress to play against Korea on Saturday, a tough opposition, who have reached semi finals or better in every edition of the Sudirman cup.

In the quieter corners of the stadium, Canada beat Austria 4-1 to claim their only victory in group B of level 2. They will face Sweden from group A tomorrow at the 17th and 18th placing match. With Vietnam defeating Switzerland 3-2 in level 3 group B, Australia’s hope of topping their pool was torn, despite winning their match over Kazakhstan 5-0. Vietnam now aims to beat group A’s number one Ukraine for the 21st place, while Australia will play against the Philippines for the 23rd and 24th.

Thursday evening results:
Level 1 quarter-final
Denmark beat Chinese Taipei 3-0
Thailand beat Japan 3-1
Level 2
Canada beat Austria 4-1
Level 3
Vietnam beat Switzerland 3-2
Australia beat Kazakhstan 5-0

Click here for complete Day 5 results

About Ee-Lyn Ooi