Malaysia go down fighting 2-3 to Denmark

Good job: Malaysia men’s doubles shuttlers Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani deliver a point against Denmark. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

CHENGDU: Debutant Justin Hoh had a chance to be the team's hero but he missed it.

The 20-year-old went down fighting 13-21, 21-19, 13-21 to experienced Rasmus Gemke in the deciding match and Malaysia lost 2-3 in the final Group D fixture against Denmark in the Thomas Cup Finals at the Hi Tech Zone Sports Center in Chengdu on Tuesday (April 30).

Both Malaysia and Denmark are through to the quarter-finals but the latter will be seeded by virtue of being the group champions.

Hope was on Justin to create an upset against his 27-year-old opponent after Malaysia had drawn level with Denmark 2-2 earlier.

Professional shuttler Lee Zii Jia did not get the start he wanted when he went down 16-21, 22-24 to world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the first singles.

Axelsen stayed composed in the opening game and showed better control to win.

In the second game, Zii Jia fought back from 8-14 and 14-19 to make it 19-19 but the Dane stayed cool to snatch the two points at 22-22 to give his team a 1-0 lead.

"Axelsen's game play and confidence was much better than mine," said Zii Jia.

"He controlled the match all the way. I managed to catch up in the second game but it was not enough."

Former world champions and world No. 5 doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik however restored the order for Malaysia.

They brilliantly came back from a game down to beat world No. 4 Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 17-21, 21-17, 21-16 to make it 1-1.

Aaron-Wooi Yik showed great fighting spirit and determination to come away with the much needed win in 63 minutes.

Said Aaron: "We are happy to get a point for the team."

"Our teammates' support gave us extra motivation and we managed to stay calm after losing the first game."

World No. 37 Leong Jun Hao knew he faced an uphill battle against world No. 4 Anders Antonsen in the second singles and as expected went down 14-21, 10- 21 to give Denmark a 2-1 lead.

The in-form Antonsen controlled the match from start to finish to claim the convincing win in 40 minutes.

World No. 15 Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani saved the tie for Malaysian when they levelled the score at 2-2 after coming out on top over world No. 18 Rasmus Kjaer-Frederik Sogaard 23-21, 22-20 in the second doubles.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin trailed 12-19 in the first game but refused to give in and clawed their way back to snatch the win.

The second game was close from the start and the pair managed to stay composed to give Malaysia the crucial point.

A draw for the quarter-finals will be done after the completion of the remaining group ties on Wednesday. Two quarter-final ties will be held on Thursday and another two on Friday.

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