KUNSHAN (China) • Lee Chong Wei led Malaysia into the Thomas Cup semi-finals yesterday, but there was Uber Cup heartbreak for Ratchanok Intanon as Thailand crashed out against India.
Lee, the world No. 2, kick-started Malaysia's efforts against Chinese Taipei with whipping overheads and delicate cross-court drop shots as he beat Chou Tien-chen 21-18, 21-18.
Afterwards, he brushed off suggestions that pressure was mounting on Malaysia's men as they seek to end their 24-year drought in the elite team competition.
"A win for today and then I'll focus on tomorrow," said Lee, who is also eyeing a maiden Olympic title at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.
Chinese Taipei drew level when their doubles pair of Lee Sheng-mu and Tsai Chia-hsin beat Tan Wee Kiong and Goh V-Shern 16-21, 21-19, 21-19.
However, Iskandar Zainuddin thrashed Hsu Jen-hao 21-13, 21-8, before doubles team Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong won the decisive match against Cheng Hung- ling and Wang Chi-lin 22-20, 21-16 as Malaysia clinched the tie 3-1.
Indonesia also reached the Thomas Cup semi-finals thanks to strong singles performances from Tommy Sugiarto and Jonatan Christie as they sent Hong Kong packing 3-1.
In the women's Uber Cup, second-ranked Ratchanok drew first blood for Thailand in beating Saina Nehwal 21-19, 21-12.
However, India won their next three ties to oust Thailand.
Said second singles player P. V. Sindhu, who beat Busanan Ongbumrungphan 21-7, 21-18: "We thought we had less of a chance after Saina losing."
In the evening session, China swept Chinese Taipei 3-0 to book their place in the last four.
World No. 3 Li Xuerui defeated Pai Yu-po 21-14, 21-17 in the opener. Wang Shixian then beat Hsu Ya-ching 21-16, 21-12 before Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei finished the tie with a 21-11, 21-14 victory over Hsieh Pei-chen and Wu Ti-jung.
THOMAS AND UBER CUPS
S-Finals: StarHub Ch201, 1pm & 7pm