Badminton

Published: Friday May 23, 2014 MYT 10:53:00 PM
Updated: Saturday May 24, 2014 MYT 9:56:23 AM

Malaysia beat Indonesia, make it to Thomas Cup final

NEW DELHI: The bhangra drums were feverishly beating away as Malaysia rejoiced after storming into the Thomas Cup final at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium.

Malaysia now have a shot at ending a 22-year drought after pulling off a superb 3-0 win over old rivals Indonesia in the semi-finals on Friday night.

The last time Malaysia won was in 1992.

World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei gave Malaysia the start they needed by disposing of Tommy Sugiarto 21-19, 21-13 for the opening point. Spurred on by father and former world champion Icuk, Tommy initially was a threat but once Chong Wei settled down there was no doubt who would turn out as the winner.

Tan Boon Heong-Hoon Thien How were not given a ghost of a chance against reigning world and All-England champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan, but they proved their sceptics wrong by winning 21-19, 8-21, 23-21.

The Malaysians won a tight first game, lost focus in the next but to their credit came back strongly to put Malaysia on the road to victory.

Luck was certainly on Malaysia’s side as Boon Heong managed to retrieve a lucky shot between his legs when the Indonesians were holding match point in the rubber.

The Indonesians were already celebrating and thought victory were theirs. But Boon Heong’s superb reflexes saved the day and Malaysia went on to win a thrilling encounter after fighting for 55 minutes.

A confident Chong Wei Feng made it five wins out of five matches by brushing aside Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka 21-10, 21-17 for the winning point of the tie to take Malaysia to a showdown with giantkillers Japan on Sunday.

It was sweet revenge for Malaysia who lost 1-3 to Indonesia in the quarter-finals in their last encounter in the 2004 Finals in Jakarta.

Boon Heong said they were not scared although the Indonesian doubles pair were more superior on paper.

“We were not afraid to play and attack them although they were close to victory. Our fighting spirit was very strong and the pressure was not there as Chong Wei won the first tie,” said Boon Heong.

Chong Wei said he was totally focused on giving Malaysia a good start.

“I could not afford to fail. Tommy was aggressive but he made mistakes towards the end of the first game. I never lost to him and I was always confident.

“We have surpassed our target by making the semis. Now, we want to go one step better.

“Japan will not be easy as they shocked China 3-0. We certainly cannot underestimate Japan on Sunday,” said Chong Wei.

Wei Feng, who was shouting with joy after clinching the winning point, was delighted with the way he played.

“I went in and put Dionysius under great pressure. I have never played him but I had nothing to lose as Malaysia were already two-up. Malaysia and Japan are playing in the final and who would have expected it,” said Wei Feng, who was draped in the Jalur Gemilang as he trooped out to celebrate with his team-mates.

Tags / Keywords: badminton, Thomas Cup, Malaysia, Indonesia, Lee Chong Wei, Hoon Thien How, Tan Boon Heong, Chong Wei Feng

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