HA NOI – Viet Nam defeated Singapore 3-2 in the first round of the Thomas Cup Preliminary Asia Zone yesterday, a badminton men’s team tournament in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
With the presence of the world No 8, Nguyen Tien Minh, Viet Nam were favourites going in to the tie.
Minh needed only half of an hour to beat Wong Ziliang Derek 21-13, 21-19 to pocket the first win for Viet Nam.
Singapore nearly drew level in the second match when Chen Yongzhao Ashton won the first set 21-17 against Nguyen Hoang Nam.
But, Nam who is one of the top national players was a different player after a short break. He dominated the second set with the Singaporean player finding no way to resist as Nam won point after point, taking the set 21-9.
After a nail-biting final set, Nam came through 21-9, making it 2-0 to Viet Nam.
Two wins provided great encouragement for Duong Bao Duc who represented Viet Nam in the third match versus Chen Guorui. Duc stretched the winning run to 3-0 with a 21-14, 21-19 victory after 20 minutes.
Three singles wins were enough for Viet Nam to secure their victory but following tournament format, they still had to play the doubles matches.
In the first doubles match, Minh and Nam downed their rivals, Saputra Hendri Kurniawan and Tang Yew Loong Jonathan, 21-14 in the first set but unreasonably decided to retired when it was 20-21 to Singapore in the second.
The surprising decision by the Vietnamese pair help Singapore narrow the margin to 1-3.
The second doubles match saw Duc paired with Pham Cao Hieu but they were outplayed by Singaporean opponents, Wijaya Hendra and Yeo Zhao Jiang Terry who took the match 21-19, 21-19 to make 2-3 the final result.
Their second loss puts Singapore at the bottom of group A with no points having lost their first match, 1-4 to Indonesia.
Viet Nam are in second and will meet with leaders Indonesia this afternoon. With one victory each, the two teams have ensured their berths in the next round.