KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Soniia Cheah and S. Kisona recorded stunning wins over higher-ranked shuttlers but it was not enough to stop reigning Uber Cup champions Japan from winning the women’s Group W tie at the Asia Team Championships in Manila today.
World No 31 Soniia Cheah bounced back from a first-set deficit to beat World No 3 and Thailand Masters winner Akane Yamaguchi 21-16, 13-21, 21-18 to hand Malaysia a 1-0 lead.
However, Japan sealed three straight points through Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota, Sayaka Takahashi, Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida for a 3-1 unassailable lead.
Sea Games champion S. Kisona, the World No 106, then reduced the deficit with an impressive 21-14, 21-13 win over 19th-ranked Aya Ohori.
With only two teams in the group following a re-draw, both Japan, as pool winners, and Malaysia have qualified for the quarter-finals.
The tournament is a qualifier for the Uber Cup in Denmark in May. It also offers Olympic ranking points.
Japan 3 Malaysia 2 (Akane Yamaguchi lost to Soniia Cheah 16-21, 21-13, 18-21; Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota bt Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean 21-11, 21-15; Sayaka Takahashi bt Goh Jin Wei 21-18, 21-12; Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida bt Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah 21-15, 18-21, 21-16; Aya Ohori lost to S. Kisona 14-21, 13-21.