Badminton: Malaysia must beat Japan to top group and avoid playing seeded teams in last eight

THE goal is to become the group champions.

And skipper Aaron Chia is all pumped up to beat Japan today to emerge as the Group D winners.

Malaysia have not beaten Japan in the Thomas Cup for the last 12 years. They have lost to them in the past three editions and their last win was at the 2008 stint in Jakarta in the quarter-finals.

Yesterday, Malaysia beat United States 5-0 while Japan defeated England also with an identical score to indicate that they will not hold their punches when they face off in the final group tie today.

“Topping the group will help to avoid other seeded teams and that’s the goal now.

“We don’t plan to relax but fight in every match until the end here.” said Aaron.

Revenge is on the mind of Aaron and Soh Wooi Yik as they get ready to face world champions Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi. They had beaten them at last year’s Sudirman Cup but lost in all three meetings after that.

“It has always been close between us, this time, we want to get the upper hand,” said Aaron.

Japan fielded scratch pair Hoki and mixed doubles specialist Yuta Watanabe against England yesterday but they are likely to retain the top pair against the Malaysians.

Lee Zii Jia is also eyeing to avenge his defeat to Kento Momota after losing the first point at last year’s edition in Aarhus.

“Winning the first point is important, so I will go all out to avoid losing him again in the Thomas Cup,” he said.

Malaysia have a fighting chances in the next three events, whoever they decide to field.

Veteran Liew Daren may be fielded although he does not have a good record against Kanta Tsuneyama or Kenta Nishimoto but the former’s experience may turn the tide for Malaysia.

National coaching doubles director Rexy Mainaky may have a headache in naming the second doubles as both Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani have their own strengths.

One pair have the experience while the other have improved significantly.

“I would have to think hard whether to field these pairs or even try a scratch partnership.

“Whoever I field must go all out to help us become group winners,” said Rexy.

Japan have other options to deceive their opponents. They can field Akira Koga-Taichi Saito or form scratch partners Koga-Watanabe.

At the last edition, Koga-Watanabe performed strongly to beat Sze Fei-Izzuddin.

Ng Tze Yong will be strong as the third singles whether he plays Kenta Nishimoto or Kodai Naraoka.

Said national singles coaching director Wong Choong Hann: “We will evaluate the players’ performances in the last two ties and name the best in order to top the group.

“If we win, we will avoid other group champions and Japan again in the quarter-finals.”


Group B: Denmark bt France 5-0; China bt Algeria 5-0.

Group D: Malaysia bt United States (Liew Daren bt Enrico Asuncion 21-13, 21-16; Ng Tze Yong bt Don Henley 21-11, 21-9; Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin bt William Hu 21-16, 21-17; Goh Sze Wei -Chia Weijie bt Adrian King-Sun-Hendry Tang 21-12, 21-8; Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi bt Asuncion-William 21-16, 21-8); Japan bt England 5-0.


Group A: Japan bt France 5-0; Indonesia bt Germany 5-0

Group D: India bt United States 4-1, South Korea bt Canada 4-1.


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