Thomas Cup: Denmark defeats Malaysia 3-2 in semis

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/5/5/nation/20060505204922&sec=nation

Friday May 5, 2006

Thomas Cup: Denmark defeats Malaysia 3-2 in semis

Malaysia is out of the Thomas Cup after losing 2-3 to Denmark in the semi-finals.

Source: http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news_sports.php?id=195547

May 05, 2006 23:17 PM

Malaysia Fail To Enter Final

From Zulhilmi Supaat

TOKYO, May 5 (Bernama) – Second seed Malaysia failed to get a shot at ending their 14-year drought when they lost 2-3 to European darkhorse Denmark in the Thomas Cup semi-finals at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium here Friday.

When both countries were tied at 2-2, Malaysia’s third singles, Kuan Beng Hong, failed to deliver the winning point, losing to Joachimm Persson.

Malaysia last won the Thomas Cup in Kuala Lumpur in 1992 by beating Indonesia 3-2.

Denmark will battle against China in the final on Sunday. China trashed Indonesia 3-0 in the other semi-final tie.

The Danes’ last appearance in a Thomas Cup final was in 1996, in Hong Kong, but Indonesia whitewashed them 5-0.

Denmark have never met China in the final since the inception of the Thomas Cup in 1948.

Malaysia’s last Thomas Cup Final match was in Guangzhou, China, in 2002 when their lost 2-3 to Indonesia.

The ‘Malaysian Tiger’ squad marched into Friday’s semifinals without their skipper, Wong Choong Hann, who has returned to Kuala Lumpur for treatment of a tendon injury sustained in the quarter-final match against Park Sung Hwan of South Korea on Wednesday.

World number two Lee Chong Wei failed to deliver the first point when he lost 19-21, 18-21 to world number three Peter Gade in 58 minutes.

In the first set, the Malaysian gave the Dane a tough fight before finally bowing out in 39 minutes.

In the second set, Chong Wei seemed to lose his focus and was trapped by Gade’s combination of drop shots and jumping smashes and surrendered in 19 minutes.

The 2006 Swiss Open champion and 2006 All-England semifinalist admitted that his performance was below-par Friday.

“I made lots of mistakes in the first set and more mistakes in the final set. We know each other’s game very well but today was not my day,” Chong Wei told reporters.

In the second tie, Malaysia’s top pair and world number six Chan Chong Ming stole the limelight when they beat world number one doubles Jens Eriksen/Martin Lundgaard Hansen 21-17, 28-30, 21-6 in 68 minutes to level the score.

After winning the first set in 19 minutes, the second set saw a thrilling match-to-match point for 37 minutes before the Malaysians finally gave in.

Chong Ming was flashed a red card by umpire Girish Natu of India in the second set for delaying the match and a point was awarded to Eriksen/Hansen.

In the rubber set, Chong Ming/Kien Keat, who were on fire, easily sealed the match 21-6 in just 12 minutes while the Danish duo got their red card for delaying the match.

Kien Keat said they should thank national chief coach Yap Kim Hock for his confidence in fielding them in Friday’s semifinals although they lost in their quarter-final match against the South Koreans on Wednesday.

“When we got the red card, its the turning point for us to play a better game and try to control our emotions. When Chong Wei failed to deliver the first tie point, we knew we must win the match,” he said.

In the third tie, Muhd Hafiz Hashim lost 22-20, 12-21, 17-21 Kenneth Jonassen in 52 minutes.

With the loss, Malaysia’s chances to the final looked dim but the seasoned pair of Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah ignited the fire by defeating Denmark’s young pair Boe Mathias/Carsten Mogensen.

The world number seven took 52 minutes to beat the Danish pair 21-13, 15-21, 21-19.

“We were too eager to win the second set and made lots of mistakes. But we take it as a challenge and were more composed in the rubber game until we won it,” Wan Wah said.

In the last tie, Thomas Cup debutante and world number 15, Kuan Beng Hong lost easily to world number 17, Joachim Persson, 12-21, 19-21 in 32 minutes.

“Sorry, I’m really sad for failing to bring the crucial winning point to Malaysia,” he said.

Since its inception, only three countries have dominated in the world’s most prestigious badminton tournament, with Indonesia winning the Cup 13 times while Malaysia and China, five times each.

– BERNAMA