Japan win Maiden Thomas Cup
Japan clinched their first ever Thomas Cup badminton title with a thrilling 3-2 win over Malaysia in the final of the men's premier team championships in New Delhi yesterday.
World No. 25 Takuma Ueda overcame a spirited resistance from the 66th-ranked Daren Liew before taking the fifth and decisive tie 21-12, 18-21, 21-17 at the Siri Fort complex in the Indian capital.
"I was under pressure before the start of the game but... I was determined to win," said Ueda.
"I have not experienced anything like this before."
The Japanese, whose best performance in 12 previous Cup appearances had been a semi-final berth in 2012, ensured the sensational 3-0 rout of five-time defending champions China on Friday did not go to waste.
World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei gave Malaysia a winning start with a 21-12, 21-16 win over the fourth-ranked Kenichi Tago in the opening singles.
But Kenichi Hayakawa and Hiroyuki Endo drew level for Japan, fighting back after losing the first game to beat Tan Boon Heong and Hoon Thien How 12-21, 21-17, 21-19 in an hour and 16 minutes.
Kento Momota, the hero of Japan's win against China when he beat world No. 6 Du Pengyu in the third match, once again put his side in front with an impressive win over Chong Wei Feng.
Momota, the 20-year-old world No. 14, demolished the Malaysian No. 2 Chong 21-15, 21-17 in just 38 minutes.
Malaysia's doubles pair of Goh Shem and Tan Wee Kiong brought their team back into contention by beating Keigo Sonoda and Takeshi Kamura 19-21, 21-17, 21-12 to make it 2-2.
Malaysia, who won the last of their five Thomas Cup titles in 1992, had also lost in the final in 1994, 1998 and 2002. - AFP.
- JAPAN 3 MALAYSIA 2 (Japanese names first):
Kenichi Tago lost to Lee Chong Wei 12-21, 16-21; Kenichi Hayakawa/Hiroyuki Endo bt Tan Boon Heong/Hoon Thien How 12-21, 21-17, 21-19; Kento Momota bt Chong Wei Feng 21-15, 21-17; Keigo Sonoda/Takeshi Kamura lost to Goh Shem/Tan Wee Kiong 21-19, 17-21, 12-21; Takuma Ueda bt Daren Liew 21-12, 18-21, 21-17.