THOMAS CUP FINALS POSSIBLE MATCH-UPS


Kento MomotaKento Momota

FIRST SINGLES

Lee Zii Jia (8) vs Kento Momota (1)

It’s set to be the third clash in a span of two weeks between the two stars, and the fans simply just can’t get get enough of it. With Zii Jia and Momota winning a match each at the recent Sudirman Cup, another intriguing battle is in store. Zii Jia, who declared he has found the key to breaking Momota’s defence, will aim to record successive victories over the two-time world champion for the first time. Zii Jia will be determined to start improving on his poor head-to-head record with Momota which currently stands at 2-7. But Zii Jia can expect a fierce backlash from Momota as the latter will be fired up to return to winning ways after ending the Sudirman Cup with two straight defeats. After losing to Zii Jia in the semi-finals, Momota was also beaten by China’s Shi Yuqi in the final.

Takuro Hoki & Yugo KobayashiTakuro Hoki & Yugo Kobayashi

FIRST DOUBLES

Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (8) vs Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi (16)

The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists must deliver at all costs in this match to either give Malaysia a 2-0 advantage or draw level in the event Zii Jia failed to beat Momota. Aaron-Wooi Yik will be out to avenge their recent Sudirman Cup semi-final defeat to the Japanese. They are certainly more than capable of subduing Hoki-Kobayashi provided they settle down in the game fast and dictate play. A second straight defeat to the once third-ranked Japanese duo before the retirement of their seniors does not augur well for Aaron-Wooi Yik.

Kanta TsuneyamaKanta Tsuneyama

SECOND SINGLES

Cheam June Wei (70) vs Kanta Tsuneyama (13)

June Wei may not have really excelled in the individual tournaments yet, but he has proven himself to be a team competition specialist. Tsuneyama is well aware of that as he was part of the side that went down 3-0 to Malaysia in the last four of the Asia Team Championships last year where June Wei played a starring role in the second singles. Tsuneyama had defeated June Wei in three games in their only meeting two years ago, and this time their clash is going to be closely fought too.

Akira Koga & Taichi SaitoAkira Koga & Taichi Saito

SECOND DOUBLES

Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani (26) vs Akira Koga-Taichi Saito (27)

Sze Fei-Izzuddin will have to come up with a winning formula if they don’t want to end up being defeated by Koga-Saito for the third time time, after having lost in 2018 and 2019. Match sharpness could also prove to be the difference as Koga-Saito had made two starts in Japan’s Sudirman Cup campaign last week. On the contrary, Sze Fei-Izzuddin did not play any international competitive match since the Swiss Open in March.

Kenta NishimotoKenta Nishimoto

THIRD SINGLES

Ng Tze Yong (82) vs Kenta Nishimoto (16)

Tze Yong will relish taking on a world top-20 opponent for the first time in his career. The 21-year-old has underlined his potential by winning the sixth-tier Polish Open earlier this year, but he knows it would only mean something when he starts beating the more established names. Despite the big difference in the rankings, the clash will not be a mismatch. Tze Yong can seek inspiration from teammate June Wei, who had upset Nishimoto during the semi-finals of the Asia Team Championships last year.

PAST ENCOUNTERS AGAINST JAPAN

(WON 3, LOST 2)

1967: WON 6-3 (FINAL ROUND OF INTER-ZONE

1984: WON 5-0 (GROUP A)2008: WON 3-0 (QUARTER-FINALS)

2010: LOST 3-2 (GROUP B)2014: LOST 3-2 (FINAL)

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