KUNSHAN, May 19 – Malaysia strolled into the semifinals of the 2016 Thomas Cup Finals after convincingly beating Taiwan 3-1 in a quarterfinal tie at the Kunshan Sports Centre, here Thursday. With the victory, Malaysia took a step closer to qualifying for the final but will have to wait for the outcome of the match between Japan and Denmark to know who their semifinal opponent will be.
Malaysia secured the first point through world number two Datuk Lee Chong Wei who disposed Chou Tien Chen 21-18, 21-18 but Taiwan drew level when Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong unexpectedly lost to Lee Sheng Mu/Tsai Chia Hsin 16-21, 21-19, 21-19. With the tie level at 1-1, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin who came on court for the second singles match, put up a sizzling performance to defeat Hsu Jen Hao 21-8, 21-13 and regain Malaysia’s advantage.
The country’s second doubles pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong delivered the desired winning point after demolishing Taiwan’s Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin 21-16, 22-20 after some anxious moments, especially towards the end of the second set. Meanwhile, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) technical director, Morten Frost Hansen praised Iskandar for his outstanding performance throughout the crucial stages.
He added that: “Iskandar played a fantastic match. I hope he will continue his form. we have to talk to our doubles players. They have been playing all the way up and we know they are. But we have to talk about it.” Chong Wei when met said the entire squad were not aware of who their opponent was until this morning because the draw was only done at 1am after all the group matches were completed. He said, however, they came prepared to face any opponent while Taiwan is not an easy team to beat.