MALAYSIA clinched their Thomas Cup berth in style by beating South Korea 3-0 in the quarter-finals of the Asia Team Championships in Manila yesterday.
National No 1 Lee Zii Jia once again handed his team a winning start when he defeated Heo Kwang Hee 21-9, 21-14 in just 35 minutes.
Buoyed by the explosive start, men’s doubles Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik downed Choi Sol Gyu-Kim Won Ho 21-19, 21-14 to extend Malaysia’s lead.
It was Cheam June Wei’s turn to shine as the World No 72 upset the form books by overcoming former World No 1 Son Wan Ho 21-18, 9-21, 21-14 in 62 minutes to seal the win.
The convincing win even surprised team manager Wong Choong Hann, who was relieved as the team achieved their target of reaching the last four and qualifying for the Thomas Cup.
“Everyone played superbly against Korea. I am surprised with the performance and commitment they showed today,” said Choong Hann yesterday.
“Hopefully, they can keep up the momentum in the semi-finals. I believe anything can happen here.
“I think the Koreans did try to fight back at some point. It was not an easy tie. But my boys maintained their composure and pressured their opponents.
“We have been waiting for this breakthrough from June Wei for a long time and I believe his win (over Wan Ho) will boost his confidence.”
Zii Jia was pleased with the way his teammates fought.
“I am very proud of my teammates’ performance. June Wei was great. It was a big win for him.
“We still have a match tomorrow (today). I hope we can have a good rest and give our best in the semi-finals.”
Malaysia will meet Japan, who beat Taiwan 3-1, in the semi-finals today.