Incheon: The Korean men’s badminton team defeated reigning Thomas Cup Champion Japan in a five matches thriller at the Gyeyang Gymnasium in Incheon on Sunday.
It was world number 7 Son Wan Ho who opened winning accounts for the Korean team when he defeated world number 4 Kenichi Tago in a hard-fought match by winning 12-21, 21-11, 21-16 in 71 minutes.
After a sluggish first set, world number one men’s doubles pair Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong stormed back to crush Hiroyuki Endo- Kenichi Hayakawa 15-21, 21-14, 21-13 in 80 minutes, to put Korea head with 2-0.
On the verge of elimination, Kento Momota managed to score a point against his Korean rival Lee Dong-keun 12-21, 21-12, 21-17 in 67 minutes.
Japan’s second doubles Takeshi Kamura – Keigo Sonoda gave Japanese team the much-needed point when they leveled the score 2-2 after defeated the recently-crowned world champion Ko Sung-Hyun/Shin Baek-Cheol in somewhat easy fashion 21-16, 21-15 in 33 minutes.
The onus of keeping Korea in contention then fell to world No.62 Lee Hyun-Il. He went down easily to Japan’s Thomas Cup hero-Takuma Ueda 14-21 in 20 minutes. Lee Hyun-Il regained his composure in the second set, equalizing on his experience and precision to take second set 21-18 in 29 minutes. Lee Hyun-il then sparked a surge in third set that saw him trashing Ueda 21-9 in just 20 minutes.
With the win, Korea will play Chinese Taipei in the 17th Asian Games men’s team event semi-finals on Monday.