Thursday, May 22, 2014

Malaysia A Step Closer To Semifinals After Topping Group A

NEW DELHI, May 21 (Bernama) -- Malaysia took a step closer to achieving its target of qualifying for the semifinals by avoiding seeded teams like China in the quarterfinals by winning Group C after beating South Korea 3-2, here today.

Apart from Malaysia, countries that advanced to the quarterfinals are Indonesia, Thailand from Group A, Japan, Denmark (Group B), China, France (Group D) and South Korea as the runner-up in Group C.

In the match against South Korea Wednesday, world number one Datuk Lee Chong Wei beat Son Wan Ho 21-17, 21-17 in straight sets but the Koreans levelled the tie when Tan Boon Heong/Hoon Thien How lost to Yoo Yeon Seong/Lee Yong Dae in straight sets 19-21, 19-21 in the doubles.

With the tie level at 1-1, second singles player Chong Wei Feng came on court to beat Lee Dong Keun 19-21, 21-17, 21-14 and put Malaysia on the winning track while the country's second doubles pair Tan Wee Kiong/Goh V Shem delivered the much needed winning point after defeating Kim Sa Rang/Kim Ki Jung 21-17, 21-19 in straight sets.

With the winning point and tie already secured, Malaysia conceded the third singles match when Goh Soon Huat lost to Soo Hwang Jong 21-23, 15-21.

"We will just prepare for whoever is drawn as our opponent," said Chong Wei.

The draw for the quarterfinals is expected to take place after all matches are completed.

n team spirit after Daren Liew was dropped from the third match amid a dismal performance in the first two matches, he said: "We didn't expect him to lose to a German player. Seems like his confident level has dropped."

Nevertheless, the team shall continue to support and prepare him and bring him back in the quarterfinals and semifinals, he said.

"I am happy to have won the crucial point for Malaysia. Now that we will not meet other top seeds. It will be easier to achieve the team's target," said Goh V Shem.

Meanwhile, the women's team who lost their first two matches against Denmark and Japan in Group Z, salvaged some pride by beating Germany 5-0 to end their Uber Cup campaign in third place.

"I am happy with the performance today as our target was to beat Germany given that our strength. We are certainly disappointed for not achieving the target of making it to the quarterfinals but they played well today," said women's singles coach Wong Tat Meng.

Tat Meng said the future for the women's team was definitely promising but needed more exposure, which the team lacked, as compared with teams like South Korea.

"We are far behind in that and we need to catch up," he said.

By Saraswathi Muniappan -- BERNAMA

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