Malaysia overwhelms Japan to advance to Thomas Cup semifinals

SINGAPORE – Malaysia advanced to the Thomas Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2016 with an impressive 3-1 victory over Japan in a last-eight encounter in Chengdu on May 2.

They will face China on May 4 for a place in the final after the hosts defeated defending champions India 3-1 in the other quarter-final.

Taking advantage of Japan’s absence of world No. 5 Kodai Naraoka, the Malaysian took a 2-1 lead over No. 10 Li Zhijia and world No. 37 Leung Junhao in the first two singles matches.

Lee defeated world No. 11 Kenta Nishimoto 21-13, 21-3, and Leung defeated world No. 22 Koki Watanabe 21-13, 21-10.

Their victory came with an 18-21, 21-14, 21-19 loss for world No. 5 Aaron Chia and Soh Uiik to No. 6 Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi.

“I’m really happy to get the team’s first point,” Lee told The Star after clinching the win in 33 minutes.

“To be honest, Nishimoto had a lot of unforced errors in the second game. I don’t know what was the problem for him.

“For me, I’m glad we were able to win the game right away.”

A disappointed Nishimoto said: We tried, but Zii Jia was very aggressive in the second game and we lost consecutive points. There were no injuries. ”

Malaysia’s victory then fell to world No. 15 Goh Sefei and Nur Izuddin, and the second doubles pair did not disappoint.

They came from behind to defeat Japan’s 16th-ranked Akira Koga and Taichi Saito 18-21, 21-15, 21-12, clinching the best-of-five showdown and receiving a lot of enthusiasm from the Malaysian team at the High-Tech Zone Sports Center in Chengdu. A huge celebration broke out. .

As a result, the final singles match between Japan’s former world No. 1 Kento Momota and Justin Ho was not held.

Momota, 29, previously announced that he would retire from international competition after playing in team competitions once every two years.

In the other quarter-final on May 3, Chinese Taipei will face Denmark, led by Viktor Axelsen, while South Korea will face Indonesia, led by in-form Jonathan Christie.

The world No. 3 had won the British Open and Badminton Asian Championships in the past two months.

In the Uber Cup, China and Japan will meet in the semi-finals after defeating Denmark and India 3-0 respectively.

Indonesia will face Thailand, while holders South Korea will face Chinese Taipei on May 3 for the remaining two spots in the semi-finals.

Singapore lost to China 0-5, India 4-1 and Canada 0-5, and were eliminated in the group stage. Her only win came over Yeo Ji-min, who defeated India’s Ashmita Chaliha 21-15, 21-18 on April 28.

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