It was Malaysia’s day from the time Chen Tang Jie and Toh Ee Wei recovered from a grim position in the opening match of their final group tie against Chinese Taipei. Once the mixed doubles duo struck the opening blow, the Malaysians rode on the momentum to take the tie and finish on top of the ‘Group of Death’.
All the close contests went Malaysia’s way. Chen and Toh were down 15-18 in the second against Ye Hong Wei and Lee Chia Hsin before winning the third at 17; Lee Zii Jia saved game point in the second to beat Chou Tien Chen for the first time in five matches.
And even though Tai Tzu Ying enjoyed a comfortable win against Goh Jin Wei, the Malaysians were sharper on the day and grabbed their chances in the remaining matches. Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan wrapped it up in the longest match of the day, 71 minutes, over Hsu Ya Ching/Teng Chun Hsun.
Lee Zii Jia had an express start against Chou, before the world No.5 buckled down with patient play, and opening up only after working the shuttle around. Chou had to play catch-up at the end after some astonishing defensive winners from Lee; Chou had a game point but it was Lee who capitalised on his first opening to give a 2-0 lead for his country.
“The feeling was very good, and I was a bit lucky as well. Surprised with some of my shots – it’s been a long time. It’s an important point for Malaysia, and I’m proud of myself.”
“It was a tough match,” said Chou. “It was difficult to play. He was very good at the net and the back in the opening game, so I had to speed up and try to push him, and try to fight. It was a great match; he played very well. This shuttle is fast, so his smash was difficult to return.”
India Notch First Win
In the other Group C tie, India overcame Australia 4-1.