Wednesday, 21 May 2014 | MYT 10:39 PM
B'day boys Wee Kiong-V Shem deliver stunning win over Koreans
Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem celebrate after delivering the winning point for Malaysia by beating South Korea's world No.4 Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang. - AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star
NEW DELHI: Scratch pair Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem made it a memorable birthday celebration when they played brilliantly to upset world No. 4 Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang of South Korea to deliver the winning point and help Malaysia finish as group champions in the Thomas Cup Finals at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium.
The morale-boosting 3-2 win over the 2012 Thomas Cup finalists ensures that Malaysia will avoid facing the likes of defending champions China and top seeds Indonesia in the last eight on Thursday.
V Shem turned 25 on Tuesday while Wee Kiong celebrated his birthday on Wednesday.
Malaysia can certainly give themselves a pat on their backs for achieving their goal of reaching the knockout stage as group winners.
World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei got the ball rolling with a clinical 21-17, 21-17 win over Son Wan-ho.
Tan Boon Heong and Hoon Thien How, the 2004 World Junior Championship gold medallist, were next on court against Yoo Yeon-seong-ee Yong-dae.
Unfortunately, the South Koreans were just too strong, jabbing their way to a 21-19, 21-19 victory in 48 minutes to level the score.
Chong Wei Feng then came out fighting to swing the tide in Malaysia’s favour by winning the second singles.
Wei Feng was tested by Lee Dong-keun but held on to win the energy-sapping contest 19-21, 21-17, 21-14 in 77 minutes.
Then came Wee Kiong-V Shem’s heroics.
Wee Kiong-V Shem took the fight to send Ki-jung-Sa-rang packing 21-17, 21-19 in 40 minutes and were immediately serenaded with a birthday song by the Malaysian camp.
The team had earlier rolled out a birthday cake for the duo at the team hotel.
Wee Kiong described the win as a special moment for him and V Shem.
“We played much better compared to the first time together (against India on Sunday). We needed time to forge a good understanding and we struggled to win in three games,” said Wee Kiong.
“We knew we couldn’t play defensively against the Korean pair. Our plan worked.
“We are more confident but we’ll leave it to the coaches to decide whether we’ll get to play again.”
Chong Wei was quick to caution his team-mates and advised them to stay focused.
“We want to achieve our initial target – to make the semi-finals tomorrow. It is good that we are in the last eight as group winners as we get to avoid heavyweights like China,” said Chong Wei, who won all his group matches in straight games.