Champions Indonesia make men’s final again in dramatic fashion

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Shi Yuqi

Firman Abdul Kholik, playing third singles, was the hero of the night as he powered defending champions Indonesia into the men’s team final with a 3-2 win over South Korea in the semi-finals in the E-Plus Badminton Asia Championships at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium in Alor Setar on Saturday night.

Indonesia were staring at defeat with a Korea’s Lee Dong-keun 20-14 ahead. But with pressure mounting on both players it was Gong-keun who crumbled and the Indonesian reeled in eight points in a row for a 22-20 win as the devil’s point deserted Dong-keun.

There was more drama to come as the Korean questioned the umpire who awarded Kholik the point and the match, taking into account that Dong-keun’s racket had hit the net. The Korean was given the red card.

It was a sad night for the Koreans who were 2-0 down up after the first singles and the first doubles. Jonatan Christie won his singles against Son Wan-ho while Mohammad Ahsan-Angga Pratama the doubles against Chung Eui-seok-Seo Seung-jae.

Korea fought back to win the second singles through Jeon Hyeok-Jin and second doubles through Choi Solgyu-Kim Dukyoung to make it 2-2 on the night – leaving the decider between Firman and Dong-keun.

In the final Indonesia will take on China in the final. China defeated Malaysia 3-0 in their semi-final.

Malaysia, having qualified for the Thomas Cup Finals in May fielded a weak lineup in the the singles – resting world number two Lee Chong Wei in their E-Plus Badminton Asia Team Championships semi-final clash against China and ended up with a 1-3 defeat.

There was no Lee Chong Wei in the lineup as Malaysia fell to a 3-1 defeat to China in the semi-finals in the E-PLus Badminton Asia Team Championships at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium in Alor Setar, Malaysia on Saturday.

Malaysia’s only point came from their top doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee who smashed their way to a 21-18, 21-12 win over He Jiting-Tan Qiang in only 30 minutes with a confident performance.

Chong Wei was rested and 19-year-old Lee Zii Jia played first singles. However, a tired Zii Jia failed to lift his game against Shi Yuqi after a tight first game which went 21-18 in favour of his Chinese opponent. In the second game the Malaysian surrendered meekly  and lost 21-9.

After V Shem-Wee Kiong had leveled the score at 1-1, China took the second singles through Qiao Bin getting the better of Soong Joo Ven 21-17, 21-8 and sealed the tie in the second doubles.

Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong wrapped up a 21-15, 21-13 win over Malaysia’s second ranked pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi.

A disappointed Zii Jia said after the match: “I had a good start and even led in the first game but my opponent played a solid game and it made the difference, Still, I am happy with my contributions to the team overall.

“It shows that I still have a lot to learn and build up my stamina and fitness to play at high level tournaments. I will discuss the matter with my coaches,” said Zii Jia after his defeat. – BADMINTON ASIA

RESULTS

SEMIFINAL RESULTS
 
China bt Malaysia 3-1
Shi Yuqi bt Lee Zii Jia 21-18, 21-9 (38 mins)
He Jiting-Tan Qiang lost Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong 18-21, 12-21 (31 mins) 
Qiao Bin bt Soong Joo Ven 21-17, 21-8 (52 mins)
Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong vs Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi 21-15, 21-13 (37 mins)
Zhao Junpeng vs Iskandar Zulkarnain (did not play)
Indonesia lost to South Korea 2-3
Jonatan Christie bt Son Wan Ho 21-18, 21-14 (45 mins)
Mohammad Ahsan-Angga Pratama bt Chung Eui Seok-Seung Jae Seo 21-8, 21-10 (23 mins)
Ihsan Maulana Mustofa lost to Jeon Hyeok Jin 17-21, 16-21 (55 mins)
Rian Agung Saputro-Hendra Setiawan lost to Choi Solgyu-Kim Dukyoung 21-11, 18-21, 19-21 (53 mins)
Firman Abdul Kholik lost to Lee Dong Kuen 20-22, 11-21, 22-20 (84 mins)
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