PETALING JAYA: Malaysia are through to the quarter-finals of the Thomas Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark after outplaying Canada 5-0 in their Group D opener at the Ceres Arena on Tuesday (Oct 12).
Captain Lee Zii Jia (pic) put Malaysia ahead when he brought fast rising 19-year-old Brian Yang back down to earth with a comfortable 21-18, 21-13 win in 38 minutes.
Despite having earned notable victories over higher ranked opponents such as world No. 7 Jonatan Christie of Indonesia and No. 13 Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan recently, the 19-year-old has found his match in Zii Jia.
"Brian has upset quite a few top players and everyone was looking at whether he would upset me today," said Zii Jia in the post-match interview.
"I had to be stronger than him.
"He’s quite an all-round player. I’m looking forward to seeing how he will perform in future."
Taking the court next, Cheam June Wei powered past Jason Ho-Shue 21-14, 21-14 in the second match before Ng Tze Yong followed it up with a 21-7, 21-19 win over B. R. Sankeerth to hand Malaysia an unassailable 3-0 lead.
Malaysia still proved too strong in the last two doubles fixtures of the day despite lining up two scratch combinations where world No. 8 Aaron Chia -Soh Wooi Yik and No. 26 Nur Izzuddin Rumsani-Goh Sze Fei swapped partners between the two pairs.
Izzuddin-Wooi Yik sailed past Phillipe Charron-Maxime Tetreault 21-7, 21-10 before Aaron-Sze Fei completed the rout by triumphing 21-14, 21-13 over Sankeerth-Nyl Yakura.
The victory over Canada was certainly sweet as it came a day after national women's team were beaten 1-4 by the same opponents in the Uber Cup competition.
Malaysia will take on Japan tomorrow in the battle for top spot in Group D.
Japan had earlier beaten Canada 4-1.
It's the only group with three teams following the withdrawal of England in the eleventh hour.