Thomas Cup: Malaysia win opener to play Algeria on Tuesday

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Lee Chong Wei greets Vladimir Malkov right before the first men's singles match on Monday. (photo: Bernama)
Lee Chong Wei greets Vladimir Malkov right before the first men's singles match on Monday. (photo: Bernama)

Bangkok: The Malaysian men’s shuttlers stepped up their Thomas Cup preparations with a ruthless display to cruise past Russia 5-0 in the opening Group D tie of the 2018 Thomas Cup Finals on Monday.

Malaysia’s badminton superstar Lee Chong Wei drew the first blood for his team when he beat Vladimir Malkov 21-9 and 21-6 in the first men’s singles match that lasted 30 minutes.

World No. 16 men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong then edged past the 2016 All-England men’s doubles champions Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov, 21-18, 21-19 in a tense battle to add the second point for Malaysia.

The 19-year-old Lee Zi Jia managed to seal the victory for Malaysia by beating Sergey Sirant, 21-13, 21-16.

With the outcome of the tie has already been decided, Malaysia’s second men’s double’s pair of Aaron Chia/Teo Ee Yi beat Evgenij Dremin/Denis Grachev 21-16, 21-9 to earn the fourth point before Iskandar Zulkarnain claimed the fifth point in the third men’s singles match.

Malaysia will take on Algeria on Tuesday before finishing up the group stage against Denmark on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s women’s team put up a spirited fight before going down to Indonesia 2-3 in the Uber Cup opener.

In the first women’s singles match, Sonia Cheah lost 10-21 to Fitriani Fitriani of Indonesia before prevailing 21-17 and 21-14 to score the first point for Malaysia. However, Goh Yea Ching/Lee Meng Yean failed to win the second point when they lost easily to Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu in the first women’s doubles match with 13-21 and 14-21.

Indonesia secured their victory when Gregoria Mariska Tunjung defeated former World junior champion Goh Jin Wei in the second women’s singles match while Della Destiara Haris/Rizki Amelia Pradipta overcame Chow Mei Kuan/Vivian Hoo 24-22, 20-22, 21-12 in a fiercely fought second women’s doubles match to make it 3-1.

Kisona Selvaduray won the consolation point for Malaysia as she tamed Ruselli Hartawan of Indonesia 21-23, 23-21, 21-13 in the third women’s singles match.

The Malaysian Uber Cup team will face badminton powerhouse China on Tuesday and France on Wednesday.

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