(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
King Kento returns and we have our quarterfinalists
Date: 9/30/2021 8:29 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
The final group games were played today and the knockout draw conducted. Here is a summary of the group results and the quarterfinal match ups. 

In the evening session, Group D came to its conclusion. While the young English talents recorded a 5-0 victory over the African champions, Egypt, at the top of the group, Japan were able to outmuscle Malaysia for the number one spot. 

The key match up was Lee Zii Jia against Kento Momota, who was searching for his world number one form, and he found it! A dominant display saw the return of King Kento winning 21-18, 21-10. 

- I have had some tough moments recently in my life. Today, I have my confidence back. This was a big win for me, Momota stated, unable to contain his happiness in the mixed zone. 

Here are the qualifiers and standings from each Sudirman Cup group:

Group A – China, Thailand, India, Finland

Reigning champions China topped the group, but it was not all plain sailing. In their final group match they had to rely on Olympic gold medallists Wang Yi Lyu/ Huang Dong Ping to secure a 3-2 win over Thailand, who finished second. 

A significantly weakened India finished a lacklustre third, with hosts Finland still glowing from that men’s doubles point against India yesterday. 

Group B – Korea, Chinese Taipei, Germany, Tahiti

Korea impressed in the group stages, dropping just one point against the Germans. Chinese Taipei settled for second placed after being rocked by a whitewash performance from Korea today. We can only speculate what they could have done here with Olympic gold medallists Lee Yang/ Wang Chi-lin and silver medallist Tai Tzu Ying.  

Group C – Indonesia, Denmark, NBFR, Canada

The star-studded Indonesian team secured the top spot of the group surviving two 3-2 scares against Denmark and Canada along the way. The European champions, Denmark, demonstrated how they are a genuine threat, coming closest to toppling Indonesia. 

Canada blanked against the two European teams but sent shockwaves around the world when they pushed Indonesia 3-2. The National Badminton Federation of Russia (NBFR), scored a solitary win against Canada to take third, but will forever remember the admin error which threw Ivan Sozonov on court against the Olympic bronze medallist, Anthony Ginting. 

Group D – Japan, Malaysia, England, Egypt

Runners-up two years ago, Japan laid down a marker with their group performance, despite losing three key men’s doubles players after Tokyo 2020 and with their talisman Kento Momota searching for his best form. Their only lost point was in the men’s doubles against the Olympic bronze medallists Aaron Chia/ Soh Wooi Yik. 

Malaysia came though in second, however, they played with fire against England, coming through 3-2 winners but a few of their points on another day could have gone the other way. England finished third and were able to give opportunities to a number of young talents of the future. African champions Egypt enjoyed testing their game against the world’s best in Finland.

The quarterfinal draw
The draw took place at the Energia Areena, Vantaa, right after the last match was concluded. Group winners were placed according to their seeds and group runners-up filled the available spots one by one. Teams were not able to be drawn against the same team from their group.

Here are the quarterfinal matchups: 

China vs Denmark
Korea vs Thailand

Malaysia vs Indonesia
Chinese Taipei vs Japan

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