EXPECT every quarter-final tie to go down to the wire.
Shesar Hiren believes the quality of the teams would be equal from the knockout stage after turning hero for defending champions Indonesia in their hard-fought 3-2 victory against South Korea in the Group A tie at Impact Arena yesterday.
The 28-year-old Shesar was under pressure after Indonesia lost the first two points through Anthony Ginting who went down 21-16, 15-21, 14-21 to Heo Kwang-hee while scratch pair Kevin Sanjaya-Mohd Ahsan lost 18-. 21, 21-13, 12-21 to Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae in the second doubles.
Shesar however, rose to the occasion to keep Indonesia’s hope alive after beating Jeok Hyeok-jin 19-21, 21-8, 21-10 in 63 minutes.
His teammates then went on to win the tie.
Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto leveled the tie when they powered their way to beat Yong Jin-Na Sung-seung 23-21, 21-16 and their youngster Syabda Perkasa, who is playing in his first Finals, secured the winning point 21-14. , 11-21, 21-16.
Shesar said the win had given him the confidence to play even better in the quarter-finals.
“Whether I play the second singles or the third, the opponents will be equally strong. It’s hard to say who the favorites will be, ”said Shesar.
“Indonesia are here to defend the title and we will go all the way.”
Anthony, who failed to win any match in the group, remained optimistic.
“I played well today but couldn’t finish it off. It’s not about my physical condition or skills but I’m obviously dealing with confidence crisis, ”said Anthony.
“I’m fortunate that I have supportive teammates. Despite my condition, they still have faith in me, I will surely bounce back in the elimination round.
“Just look at all the top singles in the quarter-finals, everyone has a chance of winning. It will surely be competitive. “
Besides Indonesia and South Korea, the other teams through to the last eight are Denmark and China (Group B), Taiwan and India (Group C), Japan and Malaysia (Group D). A draw will be conducted after the last group tie.
“I will have to face all the top players, who have been doing well like Lee Zii Jia, Viktor Axelsen … it all depends on the draw.
The other top singles players besides Anthony, Zii Jia, Axelsen, are Kento Momota (Jpn), Lu Guangzu (Chn), Chou Tien-chen (Tpe), Lakshya Sen (Ind), Kwang-hee (Kor) and Kunlavut Vitidsarn ( Tha).
“I think, this is one of the rare Finals, where every quarter-finals will be evenly contested.”
Thomas Cup Finals
Group A: Indonesia bt South Korea 3-2; Thailand bt Singapore 3-2
Group C: Germany bt Canada 3-2, Taiwan bt India 3-2
Uber Cup FinalsGroup A: Japan bt Indonesia 4-1; Germany bt France 3-2
Group B: China bt Taiwan 5-0, Spain bt Australia 4-1
Group C: Thailand bt Denmark 5-0, Malaysia bt Egypt 5-0
Group D: South Korea bt India 5-0, Canada bt United States 3-2