(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Malaysia defeat Indonesia for the first time
Date: 10/1/2021 10:04 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
The first two quarterfinals in the morning session turned into 3-2 thrillers, which led straight into the evening session with the much-anticipated clash between Malaysia vs Indonesia, and Chinese Taipei vs Japan. It did not disappoint.

With China and Korea already waiting in the semifinals, the opening match of the Malaysia vs Indonesia clash was men’s doubles. Kevin Sukamuljo/ Marcus Gideon had an opportunity of revenge against Aaron Chia/ Soh Wooi Yik, having lost to the eventual bronze medallists at the Olympics. 

However, nothing of the sort transpired. Chia/ Soh were imperious and were able to enforce their game on the Minions, winning 21-12, 21-15, giving Malaysia a dream start. 

Tunjung just hung on
Malaysia have for a lengthy period of time been longing for a star women’s singles player. With recent news of the two-time World Junior Champion, Goh Jin Wei, retiring at just 21, the wait continued. However, Kisona Selvaduray, 23, delivered a performance that may change that. 

Gregoria Tunjung was in for a tough shift in the office with both their two previous encounters ending 21-19 in the third. It was yet another spirited display from Selvaduray which saw a thoroughly relieved Tunjung after the match which ended 22-20, 18-21 and you guessed it… 21-19.

Lee Zii Jia or Lee Chong Wei
There are no guarantees in team events, but for many years Malaysia used to start matches with an almost guaranteed point with Lee Chong Wei. They now seemed to have found a young talent who is proving that he is capable of taking on similar lofty expectations. 

Lee Zii Jia before today had never beaten Olympic bronze medallist Anthony Ginting. This was hard to believe when watching a performance which dismantled Ginting’s game and prevented him from getting any momentum. Malaysia’s lead was reinstated with a 21-11, 21-16 win. 

-I am very happy that I can win this match today, it is very important for my confidence. I have played him three times before today and I did not win a single game, said a relieved Lee Zii Jia.

A colossal effort from Malaysian underdogs
On paper the matchup looked strongly in Indonesia’s favour. Olympic Champions, Greysia Polii/ Apriyani Rahayu took on the young Swiss Open winners, Pearly Tan/ Thinaah Muralitharan. They gave the women of the moment in Indonesia a real freight. Fighting hard they forced three games out of Polii/ Rahayu, eventually narrowly losing out 20-22 21-17 18-21.

-They really wanted to beat us and had a lot of confidence. They are rising stars, said Polii.

Historic performance
At 2-2, it was winner takes all in the mixed doubles. Indonesia fielded their top pair, world number four, Praveen Jordan/ Melati Oktavianti. While Malaysia picked world number 27, Hoo Pang Ron/ Cheah Yee See. They had never played before. 

With the absence of pressure through expectation, Hoo/ Cheah started strongly. Despite a late surge from Jordan/ Oktavianti, they held on 21-19. 

All the momentum then shifted to the 2020 All England Champions, swiftly taking the game 21-9.

In the decider, Hoo/Cheah once again set off and didn’t look back. If they did, they would have seen the very late comeback attempt from the Indonesians. But it was too little too late, history was made for Malaysia, they had defeated Indonesia for the first time and were in the final four. 

-We are very excited. They are the stronger pair and we were the underdogs. We go in and fight all out to give what we have. We try to make Malaysia proud, stated Hoo. 

In the other quarterfinal of the evening, Japan delivered a strong performance winning 3-1. A key point came when Kento Momota defeated Chou Tien Chen after an 82-minute battle. Tomorrow’s semifinals look as follows. 

China vs Korea

Malaysia vs Japan

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