THOMAS CUP 2014 Day 4 – Good news for Malaysia, Japan and Indonesia

Malaysia defeated Korea to top their group with the scratch pair of Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong claiming the team’s deciding point from world #4 Kim Ki Jung/Kim Sa Rang. […]

Malaysia defeated Korea to top their group with the scratch pair of Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong claiming the team’s deciding point from world #4 Kim Ki Jung/Kim Sa Rang. Group B’s top quarter-final ticket went to Japan, who got the better of Denmark. Earlier in the day, Thailand fell short in their tie against Indonesia despite having the opening match won by Boonsak Ponsana. Indonesia now steps into the quarter-finals as the first seeds of Group A, with Thailand following right behind.

By Ooi Ee Lyn, Badzine Correspondent. Photo: Badmintonphoto (live)

Although losing the tie today would not result in elimination from the tournament, the top two teams of each group who showed up today went all out, fighting to top their respective groups in order to avoid defending champions China for as long as the draw may allow.

Lee Chong Wei, being the anchor of the team, started off the winning run for Malaysia by taking the match from Korea’s Son Wan Ho in straight games. Malaysia dispatched Hoon Thien How/Tan Boon Heong to take on Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured right) in the following match, hoping that Lee Yong Dae would surrender to his long time nemeses Hoon/Tan, whom the Korean has yet to beat since their junior days. The curse was broken, however, with Lee/Yoo taking the match 21-19, 21-19 to balance the tie at 1-1 for both teams.

The Koreans saw hope in clinching their next point from the second singles when Lee Dong Keun stole the first game from Chong Wei Feng (pictured below), but Lee soon lost grasp of the pace as his opponent slowly gained confidence in his gameplay. Chong took the following games 21-17, 21-14 and delivered the second point for Malaysia before passing the baton on to Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong.

The strategy worked well for the Malaysians, as Kim Ki Jung/Kim Sa Rang got lost amidst the attack of the Malaysian scratch pair. Goh/Tan soon claimed the deciding point for the team by ousting Kim/Kim in straight games, and received the VIP quarter-finals ticket for the team as their 25th birthday presents.

In the final match of the tie, Goh Soon Huat replaced Malaysian captain Liew Daren’s spot as the third singles player, but the team still could not change their fate of losing a point in the third singles match since beginning of the tournament on Sunday. Hwang Jong Soo went on to earn Korea’s second point before the Malaysians wrap up the tie with a 3-2 victory in their favour.

Group B: Japan first, Denmark second

In the tie between Japan and Denmark, Kenichi Tago earned the opening point for Japan as he took the match from Jan O Jorgensen in straight games. Japan might have aimed to take the lead further with Kenichi Hayakawa/Hiroyuki Endo up next, but Mads Pieler Kolding/Mads Conrad-Petersen were determined to balance the lever.

With the score sitting at 1-all, Viktor Axelsen faced Kento Momota (pictured right) to battle for the lead. The Japanese rising star started off slow, but he played his games steadily to claim another point for Japan as he toppled the tall Dane in straight games.

Although his regular partner Mathias Boe was forced stay home for a surgery, Carsten Mogensen paired up with Joachim Fischer Nielsen, and delivered Denmark’s second point by silencing Keigo Sonoda/Takeshi Kamura. The tie breaker and deciding match then fell on the shoulders of Takuma Ueda and Emil Holst, to which the Japanese finished up in their team’s favour. Japan thus beat Denmark 3-2 in the final tie of the group stage to advance into the quarter-finals as the first seeds of Group B.

Earlier in the day, Indonesia got the better of Thailand in 4-1, with only Tommy Sugiarto losing the first singles match to Boonsak Ponsana. Entering the quarter-finals as the best team of Group A, Indonesia takes a step closer to the goal of claiming the Thomas Cup for the 14th time while they enjoy the luxury of not meeting defending champions China too soon. Thailand could rely on their luck in the draws ceremony later tonight to avoid having to play against China in the quarter-finals.

About Ee-Lyn Ooi