PETALING JAYA: Malaysia are all but through to the quarter-finals of the Sudirman Cup after a 3-2 win over England in the Group D opener.
World No. 27 Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See were arguably the heroes for the youthful Malaysian side when they sprang a surprise in the opening mixed doubles match by defeating world No. 7 Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith 21-19, 21-18.
Captain Lee Zii Jia then doubled the lead by thrashing recently crowned England national champion Johnnie Torjussen 21-4, 21-15 before Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik overcame a spirited Ben Lean-Sean Vendy 22-20, 21-18 to gain an unassailable lead for Malaysia at 3-0.
But England prevented Malaysia from making a clean sweep by bouncing back in the women's singles and women's doubles battles through Abigail Holden and Lauren Smith-Chloe Birch.
The world No. 176 Holden stunned SEA Games champion S. Kisona 22-16, 22-20 before Smith-Birch completed their pride salvaging mission with a 21-18, 17-21, 21-10 win over Swiss Open champions Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah.
But a win of any scoreline over England was all Malaysia needed in order to secure a top two finish in Group D to advance to the knockout stage.
Malaysia are not expected to have trouble beating minnows Egypt in their second tie tomorrow and set up a top of the table clash with second seeds Japan on Thursday (Sept 30).
Second seeds Japan opened their campaign with a 5-0 win over Egypt.
Group D: Malaysia bt England 3-2 (Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See bt Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith 21-19, 21-18; Lee Zii Jia bt Johnnie Torjussen 21-4, 21-15; Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik bt Ben Lane-Sean Vendy 22-20, 21-18, S. Kisona lost to Abigail Holden 16-21, 20-22; Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah lost to Lauren Smith-Chloe Birch 18-21, 21-17, 10-21)
Japan bt Egypt 5-0 (Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo bt Ahmed Salah-Nour Ahmed 21-4, 21-6; Kenta Nishimoto bt Adham Elgamal 21-5, 21-5; Sayaka Takahashi bt Doha Hany 21-4, 21-2; Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi bt Adham Elgamal-Mohamed Mostafa 21-4, 21-6; Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida bt Nour Ahmed-Doha Hany 21-7, 21-5).