NEW DELHI - Japan continued their giant-killing act by beating Malaysia 3-2 to claim badminton's Thomas Cup for the first time yesterday.
The Japanese, who had stunned China for their maiden final appearance, prevailed when Takuma Ueda beat Malaysia's Daren Liew 21-12, 18-21, 21-17 to clinch the crucial third singles and the tie.
World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei beat Kenichi Tago 21-12, 21-16 to give Malaysia an early lead yesterday. Japan's doubles pair Kenichi Hayakawa and Hiroyuki Endo then made it 1-1 with a 12-21, 21-17, 21-19 win over Tan Boon Heong and Hoon Thien How.
Japan also won the second singles when Kento Momota beat Chong Wei Feng 21-15, 21-17. However, Malaysia were far from beaten as Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong played spiritedly to beat Keigo Sonoda and Takeshi Kamura 19-21, 21-17, 21-12 in the second doubles.
With the tie level at 2-2, it all boiled down to who would take the third singles. And Ueda made fewer errors to win it.