New Delhi: In one of the classic Thomas Cup Final of the past 28 years, Liew Daren of Malaysia’s final surge to send the fifth game into the decider was so unexpected that it had the audience holding their breath till resilient Daren ultimately fell to Takuma Ueda 12-21, 21-18, 17-21. With Ueda’s victory, Japan clinched their first ever Thomas Cup badminton title with a thrilling 3-2 win over Malaysia in the final of the men’s premier team championships in New Delhi.
28 years ago, in another Thomas Cup Final epic battle, rookie pair Li YongBo/Tian Bingyi created a huge upset by defeating badminton superstar Liem Swie King and his partner Bobby Ertanto to clinch the third point for China in the 1986 Jakarta Thomas Cup.
It took more than six hours for Malaysia and Japan to complete yesterday’s Thomas Cup Final.
World number one Lee Chong Wei gave Malaysia a winning start with a 21-12, 21-16 win over the fourth-ranked Kenichi Tago in the opening singles.
Kenichi Hayakama/Hiroyuki Endo drew level for Japan, fighting back after losing the first game to beat Tan Boon Heong and Hoon Thien How 21-12, 17-21, 19-21 bringing the tie to 1-1.
Japan pulled ahead with 2-1 in the tie, when Malaysia’s second single Chong Wei Feng lost to Japanese rising young star Kento Momota in straight sets 15-21 and 17-21.
Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong came to the rescue when they won against Keigo Sonoda/Takeshi Kamura 19-21, 21-17, 21-12 causing the tie to be decided by the last singles.
In the third singles match between Liew Daren and Takuma Ueda, Ueda took the first set 21-12, then Liew mounted what was the greatest fight back of the final, coming back from 10-16 to 17-17 and went on to win 21-18. That is 11 points against two from the Japanese in the last 20 minutes of that second set.
The rubber set was the ultimate nail-biter as Liew and Ueda kept up with each other, earning points alternately, all the way through to point 17, then the Japanese went on to win 21-17.
Hat’s off to the Malaysia team for their gallant efforts against the Japanese. There’s a famous saying that goes, ‘You must lose one to win one’. Through this Thomas Cup Finals, we’ve seen lot potentials from the Malaysian especially in the men’s doubles department. Lee Chong Wei’s supremacy on the court shows that he is in a different league to everyone else in the world; Tan Boon Heong is still undoubtedly the best men’s doubles player in Malaysia, BAM should quickly find a good partner for him before he gets old. Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong should continue their partnership because they have been very stable, and they have shown they can beat any top ranked pair in the world.
The results of the Thomas Cup final are as follows:
Lee Chong Wei defeated Kenichi Tago – 21-12, 21-16;
Hoon Thien How-Tan Boon Heong lost to Kenichi Hayakawa-Hiroyuki Endo – 21-12, 17-21, 19-21;
Chong Wei Feng lost to Kento Momota – 15-21, 17-21
Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong defeated Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda – 19-21, 21-17, 21-12
Daren Liew lost to Takuma Ueda – 12-21, 21-18, 17-21. – May 25, 2014.