S. Korea dishonors host Malaysia 3-2 in Thomas Cup
By Primastuti Handayani
KUALA LUMPUR (JP): Host and runner-up Malaysia suffered a humiliating 2-3 defeat to South Korea before a home crowd at the Thomas Cup championships in Putra Indoor Stadium here on Friday.
Playing before a 10,000 home crowd, Wong Choong Hann survived his first test against Shon Seung-mo 15-8, 5-15, 15-13 in a tough 90-minute match.
Wong comfortably took the first game ensuring a 15-8 lead. But in the second set, the 23-year-old Malaysian started to lose confidence and made many unforced errors, allowing Shon to lead 8-2.
Support for Wong from local spectators -- carrying banners, flags, drums and plastics bottles -- failed to deter Shon from surging ahead to lead 12-2.
Wong, playing under pressure as the opener for his team, only earned one point before Shon added another to lead 13-3.
Despite Malaysia's hard efforts to narrow the score, Shon managed to take the second game 15-5.
In the third game, Shon, relying on his do-or-die spirit, led 9-5 before Wong strived hard to narrow the score. Covering all the court, Shon was very close to victory at 13-9.
But the Malaysian recouped to slowly earn point by point, while Shon started to make unforced errors.
With both shuttlers tied at 13-13, Wong pleased spectators with a well-done netting smash to win 15-13.
"I have to thank the spectators for continuously supporting me. I also received special congratulations from the prime minister's wife (Hasmah Mahathir Mohamad), which is also great support for the whole team," said Wong.
Unfortunately, the Malaysian pair of Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah failed to follow their teammate's path and bowed out to world number two Kim Dong-moon and Ha Tae-kwon 13-15, 6-15.
In the second singles, old hand Ong Ewe Hock burst into tears after his drive went out widely from the court which gave Korea a 2-1 lead.
Ong, relying on experience, was forced to swallow a bitter pill when he lost to lesser known Lee Hyun-il 13-15, 15-4, 11-15.
Duo Lee Dong-soo and Yoo Yong-sung, world number three, had to pump out their energy to overpower a new partnership of Cheah Soon Kit and Chan Choong Ming to win 15-11, 15-8.
On another court, Denmark managed to fulfill its ambition to whitewash India 5-0.
Denmark head coach Kenneth Larsen said: "It's always difficult to be the favorite. If we want to advance from the group we must win 5-0 as it will be very decisive in points account should we share the same position as Malaysia and South Korea.
"We're not expecting to win. We also want the players to fight better," India's head coach Syed Mohamed Arief replied.
In the Uber Cup match, defending champion China had no trouble at all in overwhelming Sweden 5-0.
"I think there's no other team in the world that can beat China," declared head coach Li Yongbo at the post-match conference. "Without Ye Zhaoying, who was not fielded to give others experience, we still won anyway."
Sweden's team manager Claes Johansson said: "We have predicted we'll lose to China as it is one of the strongest teams in the world."
On another court, South Korea also earned a 5-0 victory over the Netherlands.
Sweden and the Netherlands still have two more matches on which to pins their hopes for a win in order to avoid being relegated from the world group.
Denmark bt India 5-0: Peter Gade Christensen bt Pulella Gopichand 15-1, 15-6; Martin Lundgaard Hansen/Lars Paaske bt Markose Bristow/Vijaydeep Singh 15-6, 15-4; Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen bt Nikhil Kanetkar 15-6, 15-7; Jesper Larsen/Jens Eriksen bt George Thomas/Jaseep Ismail 15-5, 15-5; Kenneth Jonassen bt Sidarth Jain 17-16, 15-9
South Korea bt Malaysia 3-2: Wong Choon Hann bt Shon Seung-mo 15-8, 5-15, 15-13; Lee Wan Wah/Choong Tan Fook lost to Kim Dong-moon/Ha Tae-kwon 13-15, 6-15; Ong Ewe Hock lost to Lee Hyun-il 13-15, 15-4, 11-15; Chan Choong Ming/Cheah Soon Kit lost to Lee Dong-soo/Yoo Yong-sung 11-15, 8-15
China bt Sweden 5-0: Gong Zhichao bt Margit Borg 11-7, 11-0; Dai Yun bt Karolina Ericsson 11-3, 11-0; Gong Ruina bt Sara Persson 11-1, 11-4; Ge Fei/Gu Jun bt Johanna Persson/Anna Lundin 15-0, 15-2; Huang Nanyan/Yang Wei bt Johanna Holgersson/Sara Persson 15-3, 15-1
South Korea bt the Netherlands 5-0: Kim Ji-hyun bt Judith Meulendijks 4-11, 11-4, 11-9; Lee Kyung-won bt Karina de Wit 11-1, 11-3; Lee Hyo-jung/Yim Kyung-jin bt Nicole van Hooren/Lotte Jonathans 15-5, 15-11; Kim Kyeung-ran bt Lonneke Janssen 11-3, 11-5; Lee Kyung-won/Chung Jae-hee bt Caroline Glebbeek/Betty Krab 15-2, 15-0