Malaysia – For the second consecutive year, Indonesia have denied Malaysia a spot in the Thomas Cup semi-finals, defeating Lee Zii Jia and Co 3-0 in the quarterfinals at the Ceres Arena.
Indonesia, who have won the Thomas Cup a record 13 times, defeated five-time champions Malaysia 3-1 in last year’s edition in Bangkok.
Malaysia was relying on world number eight and team leader Zii Jia to encourage his colleagues, but he was found lacking in the opening singles against world number five Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.
Ginting, who started energetically, needed just 38 minutes to defeat an error prone Zii Jia 21-15, 21-17.
Malaysia then placed their hopes on Tokyo Olympics bronze medalists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik to upset world number one Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in the first doubles for the third time in a row, following their elimination of the Indonesians in the Sudirman Cup quarterfinals and Olympic semi-finals.
However, the world number eight Indonesians, dubbed the Minions, were not in the mood for such thoughts as they battled tooth and nail to get sweet vengeance, prevailing 21-17, 16-21, 21-15 after almost an hour for their eighth victory in ten encounters against the Malaysians.
With Indonesia only one victory away from securing a semi-final berth, Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong almost tore the formbook to pieces in the second singles with a courageous effort against world number seven Jonatan Christie.
Tze Yong, rated 82 in the world, showed no fear against his higher-ranked opponent, and even surprised the Indonesian in the opening game, winning 21-14.
However, experience eventually won out as Jonatan gradually but steadily rediscovered his mojo, winning the next two games 21-19, 21-16 after a 75-minute epic struggle to earn Indonesia the winning point and a spot in the last four.
Indonesia, who are seeking to break an almost two-decade championship drought that began in 2002, will face hosts Denmark in the final four.
In the quarterfinals, the Danes beat India 3-1. Earlier, China easily defeated Thailand 3-0 to set up a semi-final meeting with last year’s runners-up Japan, who beat South Korea 3-2 in another last-eight encounter.