KUNSHAN – The national Thomas Cup squad are ready to face their opponents in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
The national team beat South Korea 3-2 in their final Group C match, topping the group.
With the victory, the squad has managed to avoid tough opponents in the quarter-final, and its chances of achieving the target of reaching the semi-final look bright.
Also qualifying for the quarter-finals are China, Japan (Group A), Indonesia, Thailand (Group B), Taiwan, Denmark (Group D) and South Korea, as runners-up in Group C.
Second national singles player Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin said he was excited at the prospect of facing more challenging opponents in the quarter-finals.
The 24-year-old managed to contribute valuable points to the national team against Germany, and South Korea yesterday.
“Indeed, Chong Wei (Datuk Lee Chong Wei) said my point is a turning point for the country. I regard this as a challenge to move forward and further improve,” he said.
Iskandar Zulkarnain contributed the second point after beating higher-ranked opponent Lee Dong Keun 21-17, 21-15, and put Malaysia ahead 2-1 after doubles pair Goh V Shem/Koo Kien Keat lost to world number one pair, Lee Yong Dae/ Yoo Yeon Seong.
Third singles player Chong Wei Feng emerged the hero, winning the final point by beating Jeon Hyeok Jin 21-16, 21-16, after the score was tied at 2-2 following the loss of second doubles pair Tan Wee Kiong/Tan Boon Heong to Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang, 14-21, 22-24.
Meanwhile, doubles player Goh V Shem, who was previously paired with Tan Wee Kiong, was ready in case they were split again in the quarter-finals.
In today’s game, V Shem was coupled with Kien Keat, and the pair almost made a surprise victory over South Korea, but lost 16-21, 11-21.
“Although we lost, there was a lot of experience gained as we played against the world ranking number one (pair). We lost for sure, but you could see that we fought as well.
“If (I’m) paired again with Kien Keat, we will probably be much more confident,” he said.
Boon Heong admitted that luck was not on his side and Wee Kiong, as he had yet to find his true rhythm.
“I’m ready to be separated (from V Shem) again. Today, I could sense I made a lot of mistakes and I blame myself as I haven’t found my rhythm,” he said.