Goh V Shem (left) and Tan Wee Kiong react after beating Danish scratch pairing Carsten Mogensen-Joachim Fischer Nielsen 21-19, 21-13, to seal Malaysia's 3-1 victory and place in the Thomas Cup semi-finals. – Photo by Azhar Mahfof / THE STAR
NEW DELHI: Malaysia booked their place in the last four of the Thomas Cup Finals for the first time since 2010 after beating a fighting Denmark 3-1 at Siri Fort Indoor Stadium here.
But it could turn out to be a costly victory as Lee Chong Wei's fitness is in question after he slipped in his opening singles match against his world number three rival Jan Jorgensen.
Chong Wei slipped at 16-all in the rubber game against Jorgensen.
The incident brought flashbacks of what happened to him at his last Thomas Cup campaign in Wuhan two years ago when he suffered a right ankle injury during his opening match against Peter-Gade Christensen.
Chong Wei had to retire and it cost Malaysia a chance of topping the group. They were drawn against China in the quarter-finals and eventually fell 0-3 to exit the tournament.
Chong Wei, who managed to pull through 20-22, 21-14, 21-17 in 62 minutes on Thursday, was grimacing as he walked into the interview area.
“Many players had slipped on this court and I was scared as I remembered what happened to me in Wuhan.
“There is some pain (in my left ankle) but I can bear it. It's still okay as there is a physiotheraphist here to look after me.
“I made small mistakes in the first game but it's always not easy playing someone who is familiar with my game,” said Chong Wei, who has now taken his excellent record against Jorgensen to 12-2.
Malaysia definitely need Chong Wei to deliver a point in the semis on Friday if they harbour hopes of breaking into the final for the first time since 2002.
It was Chong Wei Feng who came to Malaysia's rescue once again. The Danes pulled one back when Tan Boon Heong-Hoon Thien How lost tamely 14-21, 18-21 to Mads Pieler Kolding-Mads Conrad Petersen but Wei Feng restored the advantage with a gallant fightback against Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.
He rallied from one game down to finish off Vittinghus 19-21, 21-14, 21-8 in 56 minutes.
Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong again delivered the winning point as they broke down Danish scratch pairing Carsten Mogensen-Joachim Fischer Nielsen 21-19, 21-13.
The last time Malaysia went into the semi-finals was also when the country last hosted the Thomas Cup in 2010.
They also beat Denmark by a 3-2 margin then but exited the tournament the next day after a 0-3 humbling by China.
China are in the top half of the draw and Wei Feng, who has won all four matches he has been fielded in, said the mission is not over for them.
“We achieved our target to make the semis but it's not my contribution. Everyone played their part.
“We have to focus on whoever we play next,” said Wei Feng.
Malaysia play Indonesia in the semi-finals on Friday.