M'sia pip S. Korea to top Thomas Cup group

Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei returns against South Korea's Son Wan Ho in their Thomas Cup tie. Malaysia won 3-2 to top their group.
Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei returns against South Korea's Son Wan Ho in their Thomas Cup tie. Malaysia won 3-2 to top their group.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

KUNSHAN (China) • Lee Chong Wei's Malaysian squad survived a nail-biting showdown with Asian rivals South Korea at the Thomas Cup in China yesterday.

Their women counterparts, however, could not perform similar heroics in the concurrent Uber Cup tie against Denmark.

World No. 3 Lee led the charge as Malaysia edged out South Korea 3-2 in Kunshan, China, to finish top of their group ahead of the quarter-finals later this week.

The day did not start off promisingly for the Koreans with Lee pushing past ninth-ranked Son Wan Ho in straight sets, 21-15, 21-18.

However, they began to rally with their two doubles pairs of Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong as well as Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang, prevailing in back-to-back wins.

Eventually, the Malaysians' depth on the singles front won the day, with Iskandar Zainuddin beating Lee Dong Keun 21-15, 21-17 before Chong Wei Feng prevailed over Jeon Hyeok Jin 21-16, 21-16.

The five-time Thomas Cup champions are aiming to break their 24-year drought at the tournament.

In the Uber Cup, however, Denmark clinched a spot in the quarter-finals after a closely-contested 3-2 win over Malaysia, who crashed out of the tournament.

In the deciding singles match of the tie, Anne Thea Madsen defeated Ho Yen Mei 22-24, 21-13, 21-13.

"I was quite fresh despite losing the first game," said Madsen in comments posted by the Badminton World Federation.

"I could see she was a bit tired."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'M'sia pip S. Korea to top Thomas Cup group'. Print Edition | Subscribe