PETALING JAYA: Malaysia are through to the quarter-finals of the Sudirman Cup after China cruised to a 5-0 win over India.
China’s dominant win yesterday means Malaysia finished in second place while India end their campaign winless in Group D.
Malaysia defeated India 3-2 on Tuesday, with world No. 21 Lee Zii Jia stunning world No. 13 Sameer Verma in the men’s singles while men’s doubles scratch pair Aaron Chia-Teo Ee Yi and women’s doubles pair Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean won their respective matches in Nanning, China.
With Malaysia finishing in second place, they will face off against the top team in any of the other three groups.
They could go up against South Korea who topped Group C after they beat Taiwan 3-2 yesterday.
Japan are likely to grab the top spot in Group A ahead of Thailand. In Group B, Indonesia and England are favourites to finish first and second respectively.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia secretary general Datuk Ng Chin Chai said it doesn’t matter who they come up against in the last eight.
“We just want our players to play above themselves. Win or lose is not our biggest concern, because no matter what we know we can’t win the Cup.
“We’re looking at this tournament as a learning curve for the younger players because as decided earlier, this is a team for the future. We’re just happy that our mix of young and senior players qualified for the quarter-finals on merit.
“They have done well, especially Lee Zii Jia. We didn’t expect him to play so against Sameer. Of course we still remain hopeful that we can get a favourable draw.”
Despite resting several of their top pairs in world No. 1 mixed doubles pair Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong, world No. 3 men’s doubles pair Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen and world No. 2 Shi Yuqi, China still came out convincing winners over India.
World No. 2 mixed doubles pair Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping got the ball rolling with a comfortable 21-5, 21-11 win over Pranaav Jerry Chopra-N. Reddy Sikki before world No. 5 Chen Long dismissed Sameer 21-17, 22-20.
World No. 8 men’s doubles pair Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong sealed it for China with an 18-21, 21-15, 21-17 win over Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty.
Fifth-ranked women’s singles player Chen Yufei then took out ninth-ranked Saina Nehwal 21-12, 21-17 before world No. 3 women’s doubles pair Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan quickly did away with Aswini Ponnappa-N. Reddy Sikki with a 21-12, 21-15 win.
Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old South Korean schoolgirl An Se-Young stunned Taiwan’s world No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying to burnish her fast-growing reputation.
Rising star Se-young, who is ranked 50th in the world, roared back to defeat Tzu-ying 14-21, 21-18, 21-16 in 66 thrilling minutes.
Taiwan and title-holders South Korea were already into the quarter-finals, but this was further evidence of Se-young’s precious talent.
Thailand bt Russia 3-2 (Kittinupong Kedren-Nipitphon Phuangphuapet lost to Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov 11-21, 21-19, 15-21; Ratchanok Intanon bt Evgeniya Kosetskaya 21-7, 21-16; Kantaphon Wangcharoen lost to Vladimir Malkow 13-21, 15-21; Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai bt Ekaterina Bolotova-Alina Davletova 21-19, 21-14; Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai bt Evgenij Dremin-Evgenia Dimova 21-10, 21-11.)
South Korea bt Taiwan 3-2 (Choi Sol-gyu-Seo Seung-jae lost to Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin 15-21, 13-21; Se Young-an bt Tai Tzu-ying 14-21, 21-18, 21-16; Lee Dong-keun lost to Chou Tien-chen 12-21, 17-21; Chang Ye-na-Kong Hee-yong bt Chang Ching-hui-Yang Ching-tun 21-13, 21-15; Seo Sung-jae-Chae Yu-jung bt Tseng Min-hao-Hsieh Pei-shan 21-10, 21-18.)
China bt India 5-0 (Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping bt Pranaav Jerry Chopra-N. Reddy Sikki 21-5, 21-11; Chen Long bt Sameer Verma (Ind) 21-17, 22-20; Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong bt Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty 18-21, 21-15, 21-17; Chen Yufei bt Saina Nehwal 21-12, 21-17; Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan bt Aswini Ponnappa-N. Reddy Sikki 21-12, 21-15.)