Malaysia narrowly misses the 2014 Thomas Cup Championship by losing to Japan. After waiting for 22 years, Malaysia finally has the chance to lift the Thomas Cup again in 2014. In 2014, Malaysia will be meeting Japan who has defeated the team from the Great Wall of China with a convincing 3-0. The closest Malaysia has come to win the Thomas Cup was in 2002 where we lost to Indonesia in the finals. In 2014, we made it to the finals by defeating Indonesia 3-0 as well.
The first winning point came from Dato’ Lee Chong Wei who has shown that he is still the No. 1 Badminton Player in the World by defeating Kenichi Tago from Japan with straights games 21-12 and 21 16. In the first game, Dato’ Lee Chong Wei seemed to be in control of the entire game and was attacking Kenichi Tago from the beginning of the game until the end of the first game. Kenichi Tago was playing a not so aggressive first game. In the second game, Kenichi has turned the tide against Chong Wei and was leading Chong Wei in most of the game. At one stage, Kenichi was leading Chong Wei 15-10. With the true fighting spirit of a Champion, Chong Wei has slowly closed the gap and overtook Kenichi Tago to finish off the game by only conceding one more point to Kenichi. So, the end results of the first game is in favour of Malaysia 21-12 and 21-16. Well done, Dato’ Lee Chong Wei for giving Malaysia a headstart in this 2014 Thomas Cup Finals. In the second match, Hoon Tien How and Tan Boon Heong face the Japanese pair Kenichi Hayakawa and Hiroyuki Endo. In terms of the BWF world ranking, this Japanese pair is ranked 3rd in the world. Hoon Tien How and Tan Boon Heong were not ranked because they are a new combination. In the first game, the Malaysian pair has won by 21-12. In the second set, the Japanese pair seemed to have picked up their pace and put on more pressure to the Malaysian pair. They were leading most of the game and finally sealed the second game with 21-17. At the mid of the third game, The Japanese pair managed to reach the 11 points first but the score was very close at 11-10. At 19-18, there was a very close line call at the base line which was challenged by the Japanese pair. In the end, the call was “in” which gave the Japanese the Match point at 20-18 and a major psychological advantage. The Malaysian pair got the next point to make it to 20-19. In the last match point, both the Japanese pair and Malaysian pair played a wonderful rally to the delight of the spectators. In the end, the Japanese pair won the match by 21-19. The Malaysian pair deserved a praise for their true fighting spirit and never give up attitude although they did not get the point.
With the score tied at 1-1, we will bank on our next warrior from Malaysia Chong Wei Feng who will be playing against Kento Momota from Japan. In the first game, Momota has played aggressively and was leading for most of the first game. He has finally won the first game with 21-15. The second game was not much different with Momota dominating most of the game and taking it with 21-17. Nevertheless, we would like to commend Chong Wei Feng for giving a tough fight to Kento Momota from Japan.
With the score currently at 2-1 in favour of the Japanese, the pressure is currently on our Malaysian pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong to perform against the second pair from Japan Keigo Sonoda-Takeshi Kamura. In the first game, it was a very close game with each pair chasing each other point for point. In the end, the Japanese pair was able to withstand the pressure better and won the closely fought game with 21-19. In the second game, the Malaysian pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong put on more pressure onto the Japanese pair and were leading the Japanese pair for most of the game. In the suspenseful game, the Malaysian pair managed to wrap up the match at 21-17. With the new found confidence, the Malaysian pair was leading in most of the rubber game and was first to reach the crucial 11 point. With the new found momentum, the Malaysian pair of Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong has proceeded to wrap up the match at 21-10 and keeping the Malaysia hopes alive in the Thomas cup.
With the score at 2-2, both teams will have to rely on their third singles to win the Thomas Cup finals where Takuma Ueda from Japan will meet Liew Daren from Malaysia. This third singles will be the decider for the 2014 Thomas Cup Championship.
In the first game of the decider third singles, Takuma Ueda from Japan seemed to dominate most of the play and managed to wrap up the first game with 21-12. In the second game, Takuma Ueda was leading most of the time until fatigue caught up with the Japanese. When Takuma reached 18, he was seen to be more tired compared to Liew Daren and Liew Daren managed to take advantage of this by wrapping up the game at 21-18 to bring the match to rubber game. In the rubber game, it was clear that both players are getting tired and they are giving whatever they have left to win the game. It was a closely fought game with both players displaying true fighting spirit and chased each shuttle to save each points. In the end, Takuma Ueda has managed to clinch the winning point at 21-17 giving Japan their first ever Thomas Cup Championship in 2014. Well done Japan! Looks like Japan will be a new force to be reckoned with in the Badminton arena.
We would also like to congratulate the Malaysian Badminton team for being the first runners-up in 2014 Thomas Cup Championship as well as giving their best in this tournament. Majulah Sukan Untuk Negara.