Kunshan: Malaysia’s hopes of advancing to the Thomas Cup final were shattered by Denmark who won a 3-2 thriller in the semi-final at Kunshan Sports Centre, in Kunshan, China on Friday.
Malaysian badminton maestro Lee Chong Wei got off to a good start, breaking European champion Viktor Axelsen with a 23-21, 21-18 win in first men’s singles.
Men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong then extended Malaysia’s lead to 2-0 after they chalked up a convincing victory over the Danes’ scratch doubles pair Mathias Boe/Mads Conrad-Petersen 21-18, 21-18.
Trailing 0-2, Denmark’s hopes were kept alive by world No. 13 Hans Kristian Vittinghus when he romped past Malaysian Thomas Cup debutant Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin 21-18, 21-18.
“I kept my calm and stuck to my game plan – that’s a lot easier said than done,” said Vittinghus after the match.
With the Chinese fans firmly behind them, Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen kept the Danes in the tournament with a 10-21, 21-8, 21-13 win over former World No. 1 Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, levelled the tie at 2-2.
Denmark secure their vital third point as Emil Holst claimed the Danes’ decider with a 21-15, 21-18 victory over Chong Wei Feng, bringing his teammates to storm the court to celebrate the big win.
This is the eighth time Denmark has entered the final of the prestigious badminton tournament. The last time Denmark entered the Thomas Cup final was in 2006, where they lost to China 0-3 in the final.
Denmark will clash with Indonesia on Sunday. Indonesia did surprising well in men’s doubles matches after they demolished South Korea 3-1 in another Thomas Cup semi-final.
Jonatan Christie went down to South Korean Son Wan Ho 10-21, 16-21 in the first men’s singles match, before Indonesia’s first men’s doubles pair Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan disposed world number one, Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong, 21-15, 21-12, in the second match.
19-year-old Anthony Ginting put Indonesia into a 2-1 lead after he beat Lee Dong Keung, 21-18, 21-18.
Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi then ramped up a formidable performance to beat South Korea’s Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang, 21-15, 21-15, ending Indonesia’s six-year wait to bring Indonesia one win away from the Thomas Cup title.
Indonesia, who have won the men’s team tournament a record 13 times, last reached the final in 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, but lost 0-3 to China.