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 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 here.
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.
It was then left to team captain Aaron Chia and his partner Teo Ee Yi to get Malaysia back on track in the second doubles and that’s exactly what they did against Krishna Prasad Garaga-Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala.
But it wasn’t without drama either as the Indian pair gave Aaron-Ee Yi a run for their money before the Malaysians prevailed 21-19, 21-17 to level the score at 2-2.
It was all up to Leong Jun Hao now as he took to the court for the third singles against India’s Prannoy H.S.
Jun Hao, however, could do nothing to stop Prannoy from sealing a 21-13, 21-8 win to send his teammates jumping for joy – and Malaysia packing.
In tomorrow’s semi-final, India will take on Denmark after the Danes defeated South Korea 3-2 in the last eight.
The other semi-final will pit reigning champions Indonesia, who beat China 3-0, against Japan, who defeated Taiwan 3-2.
Indonesia lost to China 0-3
Japan bt Taiwan 3-0
India lost to Thailand 0-3
South Korea bt Denmark 3-0 — Bernama