Aarhus: As predicted by BadmintonPlanet on Friday, Thailand managed to spring a surprise on day one of the 2020 Thomas Cup finals by coming from 0-2 down to beat Chinese Taipei 3-2 in their first Group A tie.
The 2020 Thomas Cup finals which have been postponed for more than a year finally kicked off on Oct 9, 2021, in Aarhus, Denmark.
The Chinese Taipei team got off to a strong start as World No. 4 men’s singles player Chou Tien Chen survived a spirited challenge from Thailand’s World No. 18 Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-18, 22-20 to score the first point for his team.
Playing in their first international tournament after winning the Tokyo Olympics men’s doubles gold medal, Lee Yang/Wang Qi-lin were able to see off Thailand’s scratch pair Supak Jomkoh/Tanupat Viriyangkura 21-15, 21-12 in the first men’s doubles match to give Chinese Taipei a 2-0 lead.
Thailand’s former 3-time World junior champ and current World No. 23 Kunlavut Vitidsarn who defeated Shi Yuqi of China and former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth of India during the group stage at last week’s Sudirman Cup, kept Thailand’s hopes alive as he played brilliantly to ward off World No. 11 Wang Tzu Wei 24-22, 21-17.
Thailand then took the risk by re-pairing the 2014 World junior boys’ doubles champions Kittinupong Kedren/Dechapol Puavaranukroh to take on World No. 28 Lee Jhe-Huei/Yang Po-Hsuan, and that caught the Taiwanese pair off guard as they were not familiar with the playing style of the Thai pair. Kedren/Puavaranukroh successfully level the overall score to 2-2 by beating Lee/Yang 21-18, 21-17.
In the deciding third men’s singles match, Taiwan sent World No. 146 Chi Yu Jen to battle Thailand’s World No. 54 Suppanyu Avihingsanon, and Chi didn’t disappoint by taking the first game 21-11. Playing under tremendous pressure, Avihingsanon held his nerve to save two match points by claiming the second set 25-23. In the decider, the Thai player was pretty much in cruise control as he overcame the demoralized Chi 21-12 to clinch the victory point for Thailand.
Thailand is set to face Indonesia on Monday.
Meanwhile, Indonesia didn’t play men’s singles World No. 5 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and men’s doubles World No. 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, but still strong enough to beat Algeria 5-0.
Despite being forced into a decider by World No. 71 Christo Popov, Denmark’s Tokyo Olympics men’s singles gold medalist, Viktor Axelsen gave the host a perfect start to their Thomas Cup finals tie with France, with a win over Popov 21-13, 20-22, 21-8. Denmark eventually clinched its tie with France with a 5-0 overall score.
Denmark will play Germany on Monday.
Below is the day one result of the 2020 Thomas and Uber Cup finals:
2020 Thomas Cup Results:
Thomas Cup – Group A, Chinese Taipei vs. Thailand 2-3
Thomas Cup – Group B, Korea vs. Germany 4-1
Thomas Cup – Group B, Denmark vs. France 5-0
Thomas Cup – Group A, Indonesia vs. Algeria 5-0
2020 Uber Cup Results:
Uber Cup – Group D China vs. Canada 5-0
Uber Cup – Group A Indonesia vs. Germany 4-1
Uber Cup – Group A, Japan vs. France 5-0
Uber Cup – Group D, Denmark vs. Malaysia 4-1
Uber Cup – Group C, Korea vs. Tahiti 5-0