KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 – Malaysia will need more than just luck to beat Indonesia in the Thomas Cup Finals after a demoralising 4-1 defeat to Japan in their final Group D match at Ceres Arena in Aarhus, Denmark on Thursday.
At the same time Malaysia need to stop that “learning process” if the young Malaysian team is extend their stay in Denmark. Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles) and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (mens doubles) are seasoned campaigners on the big stage.
Zii Jia is the reigning All-England champion while Aaron Chia-Wooi Yik won the bronze medal at the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
No doubt they have notched some results in the Sudirman Cup (mixed team championship in Vantaa, Finland) and the on-going Thomas Cup Finals in Aarhus.
It stops that. They have been simply inconsistent with their performance. At the same time a nagging question being asked is why Malaysia is fond of trying out new combinations? The coaching panel may have their own reasons but why during a major meet?
Malaysians often get carried away with one or two wins over a top ranked player or players. It is sickening to hear players being praised with that win.
Malaysian players lack the mental strength and mentality to ride on the momentum to embark on their success.
Zii Jia was one point away from clinching the morale boosting first point for Malaysia in the first singles but instead he blew away that opportunity in his 21-15, 12-21, 21-23 defeat to world No 1 Kento Momota in a marathon 80-minute encounter.
The defeat had an effect on Aaron Chia-Wooi Yik who were a pale shadow of themselves and succumbed 13-21, 13-21 defeat to Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi in 37 minutes to hand Japan a 2-0 lead in the tie.
World No 70 Cheam June Wei gave a battling performance against 13th ranked Kanta Tsuneyama before bowing out with a 20-22, 13-21 defeat in 49 minutes.
It was 4-0 up for Japan in the tie when Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani went out tamely 10-21, 16-21 to Akira Koa-Yuta Watanabe, a scratch pair in 39 minutes.
It was left for Leong Jun Hao to give Malaysia some respect and it came in the form of a 21-9, 21-18 upset win over 16th ranked Kenta Nishimoto in 51 minutes. The Malaysian youngster is ranked 120.
Indonesia, the top seeds in the Thomas Cup, is full of fire – more so when Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie, Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Anthony Ginting seem to have checked their slide in form.
However, it is third singles Shesar Hiren Rhustavito, who has turned out to be the ace in the pack for Indonesia.
The quarter-final tie between Indonesia-Malaysia will be a repeat of the 2018 Finals in Bangkok which the Indonesians won.