BANGKOK – The Malaysian men’s badminton squad kicked off their 2022 Thomas Cup Finals’ campaign in stunning fashion as they cruised to a 5-0 victory against England in the opening fixture of Group D at the Impact Arena, here, today.
Malaysian singles ace, Lee Zii Jia proved too strong for Toby Penty as he raced to a comfortable 8-0 lead in the earlier stage of the opening game before taking the first set, 21-10, and successfully put the national team 1-0 ahead with a 21-15 win in the next set.
Tokyo Olympics 2020 men’s doubles bronze medallists, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik doubled the lead for Malaysia after they overcame a strong challenge from Ben Lane-Sean Vendy in the second set.
However, it was not a plain sailing for Malaysia’s number one pair as they had to bounce back from first set defeat, 19-21, before they going on to prevail against the ‘stubborn’ English pair in the next two sets, winning in 21-15, 21-16.
Not only that, the match which was delayed for over five minutes in the second set due to lighting issues did not affect Aaron-Wooi Yik’s momentum to put Malaysia in the driving seat against England.
“I think one of the doors inside the arena was open and this caused a slight glare on us on the court, I don’t know why the organisers took so long to close it but in the end they managed to close it slightly,” Aaron told reporters when met after the match at the mixed zone here.
Aaron, who is also the team captain, however, was unsatisfied with their performance especially when they went down in the first set but was glad they regained their confidence in the next two sets.
Rising star, Ng Tze Yong (picture) then confirmed the winning point for Malaysia after he was made to slog for 65 minutes against Johnnie Torjussen, but prevailed in 21-16, 19-21, 21-11.
Tze Yong, ranked 46th best in the world, was gutted to having to surrender the second set to Torjussen due to a strong draft inside the venue but was pleased that he was able to find his way out to contribute the third point for the team.
German Open 2022 champions, Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin continued the winning momentum for the national team as they outperformed Rory Easton-Zach Russ 21-13, 21-9 to make it Malaysia 4 England 0.
National third singles, Leong Jun Hao capped off a wonderful day for Malaysia as he needed just 40 minutes to get past Cholan Kayan in 21-11, 21-18.
Malaysia will surely eye another win against the United States (USA) in their second fixture to confirm their last eight spot tomorrow after the American team suffered a heavy 0-5 loss to hot favourites Japan in the other Group D action.