Tokyo: Japan’s World No. 5 men’s singles player in SU5 category (athletes in the SU5 category have impairments in their upper limbs such as a missing thumb which restricts grip and power of the stroke or loss of an arm due to amputation or nerve damage), Taiyo Imai, threw everything he possibly could at the six-time world champion, Cheah Liek Hou of Malaysia in the first set of their last Group B match on Friday.
However, it was still not quite enough as the current World No. 2 Malaysian won through to the semi-finals with a strong display.
Imai took advantage of Cheah’s slow start in the first game, grabbed an early lead until Cheah tied it at 9-9. Cheah then surged ahead until 17-11, but Imai didn’t give up as the Japanese was using his powerful smashes to level the score at 17-17. Although Cheah managed to score the next two points, the stubborn Imai just won’t go away to tie the score at 19-19. Cheah held his nerve when it mattered most to win the first game 21-19.
Cheah was in complete control in the second game, as he produced some aggressive smash that we rarely seen in the first game to defeat the Japanese 21-12. Cheah will meet World No. 8 Fang Jen-Yu of Taiwan in the semi-finals.
Fang continued his run at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games with an easy two-set, 21-6, 21-2, victory over Egyptian Ahmed Eldakrory on Friday.