Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Text by Dev Sukumar
Malaysia’s innovative tactics helped them shock Korea 3-2 and top Group C in the Li-Ning BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2014 today.
India finished third in the same group after a close 3-2 result over Germany, while in Uber Cup Group Z, Malaysia and Japan enjoyed one-sided wins over Germany and Denmark respectively.
It was the Malaysia-Korea tie that was the highlight of the session. World No.1 Lee Chong Wei was his usual self in breaking open Son Wan Ho’s defences in a 21-17 21-17 result. Just as they had in an earlier tie against India, Malaysia innovated with their doubles combinations, pairing Tan Boon Heong with Hoon Thien How and Hoon’s regular partner Tan Wee Kiong with Goh V Shem.
Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong (above) had their hands full against Tan/Hoon but made it level pegging for Korea after a narrow 21-19 21-19 win.
The pivotal third match rested on Chong Wei Feng (featured image) for Malaysia and Lee Dong Keun for Korea. Chong Wei Feng has had an exceptional tournament with wins over India’s Kashyap Parupalli and Germany’s Dieter Domke, and the Malaysian once again stepped up to the plate with a 77-minute victory over Lee Dong Keun.
Malaysia fielded their second innovative combination – Tan Wee Kiong with Goh V Shem – in the second doubles against established pair Kim Ki Jung/Kim Sa Rang. The experiment worked wonders as the world No.4 Koreans were shocked 21-17 21-19 by the scratch combination.
Soo Hwang Joo ensured a second point for Korea beating Goh Soon Huat 23-21 21-15.
Birthday boy Tan Wee Kiong, who turned 25 today, said the win was a timely present.
“We played much better compared to the first time together (against India). We knew we could not be defensive playing against a Korean pair. The plan worked. We are confident but we will leave it to the coaches to decide on the combinations,” said Tan Wee Kiong.
Team icon Lee Chong Wei said the team’s victory ensured they wouldn’t run into a relatively difficult quarter-final.
“We want to achieve our initial target to make the semi-finals tomorrow. It is good we are going to the last eight stage as group winners as we avoid playing a heavyweight team like China,” said Lee Chong Wei.
Japan’s all-round strength was on display in their tie against Denmark. Minatsu Mitani gave the Japanese a lead, which was built upon by Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi, who got the better of Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter-Juhl after a year. Sayaka Takahashi made it 3-0 for Japan holding off Sandra-Maria Jensen 21-16 11-21 21-11. After Marie Roepke/Line Kruse pulled one back for Denmark, Akane Yamaguchi survived stiff resistance from Mia Blichfeldt (above) 21-9 16-21 21-18 to make it 4-1 for Japan.
* Tee Jing Yi won her third straight match of the competition, leading Malaysia to a 5-0 whitewash of Germany in Uber Cup Group Z. Tee outplayed Karin Schnaase in the opening singles which set the tone for the rest of the team. Not even the experienced German duo of Birgit Michels/Karin Schnaase could pull things around for the Germans as they were beaten 21-13 21-19 by Amelia Alicia Anscelly/Soong Fie Cho.
* India’s Thomas Cup team, which had disappointed the crowd despite high expectations, managed to finish third in Group C, with Guru Sai Dutt winning his third straight match. Germany had the advantage after Dieter Domke got the better of Kashyap Parupalli in the second singles, but Akshay Dewalkar/Pranaav Jerry Chopra brought India level before Guru Sai Dutt (above) once again rose to the occasion against Lukas Schmidt, 14-21 21-19 21-19.
For today’s results, click here.