Malaysia’s gallant run in the Badminton Asia Team Championships here in Alor Setar ended with a 3-1 loss to China in the semifinals tonight. China will face either Indonesia or South Korea in the final tomorrow.
Malaysia, who rested singles ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei, were simply unable to make it past the mighty Chinese. The Malaysians had done well beating Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong enroute to the semifinals.
In the opening tie, Zii Jia, playing the first singles as Datuk Lee Chong Wei was rested, put up a brilliant fight, pushing his better known opponent to the edge. Despite his best efforts, the 19-year-old Malaysian lost 21-18. It was Shi Yuqi, currently seventh in the world, all the way in the second game. He dominated the game and pulled away to a 19-9 lead before wrapping up at 21-9 to claim the first point after 38 minutes.
Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong brought the game back to level terms. Both sides gave their best but in the end, it was the Malaysians who prevailed with a 21-18, 21-12 victory.
Qiao Bin, ranked 26th in the world, soon restored China’s lead when he overcame Soong Joo Vern. The 65th world ranked Malaysian put up a brave battle in the first game but was blown away in the second. Qiao Bin took just over 50 minutes to walk away with a 21-17, 21-8 win.
Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong secured China’s place in the final after a straight 21-15, 21-12 win over Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi.
The Chinese will either face Indonesia or South Korea in tomorrow’s final. The score stands at 2-2 currenty.
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