Monday, May 26, 2014

Malaysia Ends 12-Year Wait To Reach Thomas Cup Final


NEW DELHI, May 23 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's 2014 Thomas Cup team walked tall after whitewashing Indonesia 3-0 to secure their berth in the final, ending a 12-year wait for a chance at the title.

Malaysia will face Japan in the final at the Siri Fort Stadium here on Sunday.

Malaysia last reached the final in 2002 in Guangzhou, China but lost 2-3 to Indonesia.

Malaysia's badminton superstar Datuk Lee Chong Wei defeated Tommy Sugiarto 21-19, 21-13 in the first singles while first doubles Tan Boon Heong/Hoon Thien How chalked a stunning victory over world champions Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan 21-19, 8-21, 32-21.

Second singles Chong Wei Feng thrashed Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka 21-10, 21-17 to give the much needed win after more than a decade to put Malaysia in final.

"In the first set I made some mistakes and Tommy was also good. It will be a lie if I say there was no pressure. The second match, I had more confidence," said Chong Wei after his match.

He added that the team's performance was also very good as players like Chong Wei Feng were making their Thomas Cup debut.

Wei Feng won all his matches in his maiden Thomas Cup tournament.

"Not only Thomas Cup, but the Uber Cup as well. The team's performance was good. We didn't expect to beat Germany 5-0 (Uber Cup)," added Chong Wei, who wish to beat the Badminton Association of Malaysia's (BAM) semifinal target and reach the final came through.

An extremely cheerful Boon Heong said he has gained a lot of confidence having beaten the world's best men's doubles pair.

"Our fighting spirit was very strong today. Although we lost the second set, we didn't want to give up. Although we have the confidence now, we should be more prepared to meet the next opponents," he said.

As for Wei Feng, he said: "The first game itself I gave pressure to the opponent. So, it paid off. In the second set I was far ahead but he caught up."

"After that I told myself I should not doubt myself and be more aggressive If I wanted to win."

Asked about their opponents in the final, he said the team will continue to do their best as Japan had stunned China with an amazing performance.

Earlier, Japan had ended China's domination of the Thomas Cup when they thrashed the "Great Wall" 3-0 in the other semifinal match.

China had won the Cup for the last five editions.

"Nobody would have expected Japan to win 3-0 against China, maybe 3-1 or 3-2 but not 3-0. They played so well," said Chong Wei, when asked on Japan's victory.

"It is interesting to be up against Japan as this is the first time they reached the final," he said.

As for the Uber Cup semifinals, China beat South Korea 3-0 and are awaiting the outcome of the tie between Japan and India.

By M. Saraswathi -- BERNAMA

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