PETALING JAYA: Youngster Ng Tze Yong surprised everyone by putting up a valiant fight but it was not enough to stop Indonesia from marching into the semi-finals of the Thomas Cup Finals.
Malaysia’s challenge came to a disappointing end after the team lost 3-0 in the quarter-finals at the Ceres Arena in Aarhus yesterday.
Indonesia also defeated Malaysia at the last edition in Bangkok in 2018 but then, Lee Chong Wei had won the first point before the team went down 1-3.
Hopes were high on All-England champion Lee Zii Jia to get Malaysia off to a flying start but he fell flat after losing 15-21, 17-21 to Anthony Ginting in 51 minutes in the first singles.
It was a different Anthony that Zii Jia had to deal with yesterday as the Indonesian was highly fired up and played exceptionally well to outfox the Malaysian.
Just two weeks ago, Zii Jia had pulled off his first win against Anthony in superb fashion in the Sudirman Cup in Finland.
“Anthony played well today and I could not cope with his pace. It’s not a good performance from me,” admitted Zii Jia.
“The team just need some rest after this to prepare for the next few tournaments lined up for us,” added Zii Jia, who will be shifting his attention to the Denmark Open next week.
It was then up to Tokyo Olympic Games bronze medallists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik to make up for Zii Jia’s loss but they too were given a rude shock by a transformed Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya.
The world No. 1, who had lost to the Malaysians twice during the Olympic Games and Sudirman Cup, raised their game to win 21-17, 16-21, 21-15 in a thrilling match.
“After losing the first game, we got back our momentum but we were a bit rushed in the deciding game,” said a disappointed Aaron.
“They are the world No. 1 and now, our head-to-head record is 2-8 against them. They are still the favourites and we just have to be better prepared against them.”
After trailing 0-2, the task was on 21-year-old Ng Tze Yong to keep Malaysia’s chance afloat and he did give it his best shot.
The world No. 91, who was expected to cave in easily against world No. 7 Jonatan Christie, rose to the occasion and fought bravely before going down 21-14, 19-21, 16-21 in a thrilling second singles match.
Tze Yong showed variety in his attack and even frustrated the 2018 Asian Games champion many times with his powerful smashes but in the end, the experienced Jonatan pulled through.
“I went all out but I lost out on experience. I’m sorry that I could not help my team to keep going,” said Tze Yong.
“Despite the defeat, I’ve gained a lot of experience as this is the first time that I’ve played against a top 10 player.”
THOMAS CUP FINALS
• China bt Thailand 3-0 (Shi Yuqi bt Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-14, 21-17; He Jiting-Zhou Haodong bt Supak Jomkoh-Kittinupong Kedren 21-10, 21-18; Li Shi-feng bt Kunlavut Vitidsarn 21-13, 17-21, 21-7).
• Japan bt South Korea 3-2 (Kento Momota lost to Heo Kwang-hee 19-21, 17-21; Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi lost to Choi Solgyu-Seo Seung-jae 18-21, 13-21; Kanta Tsuneyama bt Jeon Hyeok-jin 21-10, 21-16; Akira Koga-Yuta Watanabe bt Kang Minh-yuk-Kim Won-ho 21-15, 21-18; Kenta Nishimoto bt Cho Geon-yeop 21-15, 21-10).
• Indonesia bt Malaysia 3-0 (Anthony Ginting bt Lee Zii Jia 21-15, 21-17; Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya bt Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik 21-17, 16-21, 21-15; Jonatan Christie bt Ng Tze Yong 14-21, 21-19, 21-16).l Denmark bt India 3-1 (Viktor Axelsen bt K. Srikanth 21-12, 21-13; Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen lost to Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty 15-21, 21-17, 18-21; Anders Antonsen bt B. Sai Praneeth 21-8, 21-15; Mathias Christiansen-Frederik Sogaard bt M.R. Arjun-Dhruv Kapila 21-16, 21-9).
UBER CUP FINALS
• Japan bt India 3-0 (Akane Yamaguchi bt Malvika Bansod 21-12 21-17; Yuki Fukushima-Mayu Matsumoto bt Tanisha Crasto-Rutaparna Panda 21-8 21-10; Sayaka Takahashi bt Aditi Bhatt 21-16 21-7).l South Korea bt Denmark 3-0 (An Se-young bt Mia Blichfeldt 14-21 21-8 21-8; Lee So-hee-Shin Seung-chan bt Maiken Fruergaard-Sara Thygesen 21-17 21-18; Kim Gae-un bt Line Christophersen 21-11 21-17).
• Thailand bt Indonesia 3-2 (Pornpawee Chochuwong bt Gregoria Mariska 14-21, 21-10, 21-10; Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai lost to Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu 17-21, 21-17, 19-21; Busanan Ongbamrungphan bt Putri Kusuma Wardani 21-9, 23-21; Puttita Supajirakul-Sapsiree Taerattanachai lost to Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti-Ribka Sugiarto 19-21, 21-15, 15-21; Phittayaporn Chaiwan bt Ester Nurumi Tri Wardoyo 25-23, 21-8).
• China bt Taiwan 3-0 (Chen Yufei bt Pai Yu-po 21-16, 21-13; Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan bt Hsu Ya-ching-Hu Ling-fang 21-10, 18-21, 21-14; He Bingjiao bt Hung Yi-ting 21-14, 21-9).