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Friday, May 13, 2022

Thomas Cup: Gutsy India ends Malaysia’s hope in Bangkok

 


Joy for India. Despair for Malaysia.

India created history when they stunned five-time champions Malaysia 3-2 to storm into their first-ever Thomas Cup semi-finals.

However, the quarter-final clash was no plain sailing for India as they had to stage a comeback to dash Malaysia’s hope of ending an agonising three-decade title drought since they last won in 1992 in Kuala Lumpur.

India got off to a bad start despite their main singles ace, Lakshya Sen going toe-to-toe with Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia, which saw them both level at 16-16 before the Kedahan found a way to close out the first game with a two-point margin - 23-21.

The second game, though, saw world number six Zii Jia at his imperious best as he dominated the proceedings with his pace and accuracy to hand world number nine Lakshya a 21-9 beating - and Malaysia the first point.

India managed to pull level at 1-1 in the first doubles when Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty produced a splendid performance to end Malaysian pair Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani’s impressive run.

The world number eight Indian shuttlers needed just 41 minutes to get past world number 13 Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin 21-19, 21-15 for their sixth win over the Malaysians in seven meetings.

Satwiksairaj-Chirag’s win lifted the gloom in the India camp and inspired their second singles, Srikanth Kidambi to pile more misery on Malaysia with a dominant 21-11 first-game win over Malaysian rising star Ng Tze Yong

In the second game, world number 46 Tze Yong found himself trailing 9-15 before he staged a mini-fightback by scoring five points on the trot to narrow the gap to 14-15.

However, the experienced Indian shuttler, who is a former world number one, regained his composure to take the second game 21-17 and give India a 2-1 lead.

- Bernama

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