Japan, top-heavy in every department eased into the Sudirman Cup semi-finals after a 3-0 win over Malaysia in the quarter-finals in Nanning, China on Friday. And it was a bloody exit literally.
Could things have been different for Malaysia if Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi won the men’s doubles in the first match in the tie?
“I think should we have won the first point things would have got more interesting,” said national coaching director Wong Choong Hann from Nanning, China on Malaysia’s exit from the world mixed team championships.
Choong Hann was reflecting on the nasty shin injury Ee Yi picked up in the deciding game at 19-19 when Yew Sin’s trailing left leg smacked into Ee Yi’s face. The incident took place when both the Malaysian players tried to retrieve the shuttle.
According to Choong Hann, the injury left needed a couple of stitches. “Although shaken Ee Yi is feeling okay for now.”
“Overall it was a good tournament for us. The players gave their best throughout. However, there is still a lot to improve.
“We need to look into possibilities how we could make ourselves better and stronger to win matches. we will look into that point seriously,” said the former international.
Back to the men’s doubles, it was a good 10 minutes before play resumed after Ee Yi was given medical treatment on the court. Ee Yi returned to court with a heavily bandaged chin. 
The Malaysians saved a match point could not stop Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda from snatching a 13-21, 26-2, 23-21 win in 95 minutes for Japan’s first point.
Former world champion Nozomi Okuhara stopped Soniia Cheah 21-16, 21-13 in the women’s singles before world No 1 Kento Momota won the tie in the men’s singles.
The Japanese ace defeated Lee Zii Jia 21-18, 211-16 although the Malaysian put up a gallant fight but bowed out on lack of experience.
The top-seeded Japanese will now play Indonesia, 3-2 winners over Chinese Taipei, for a place in the final.
For Malaysia, it was a sad end to their campaign in the world mixed team championships but the young team can still count on the many positives for the future. as Choong Hann aptly said, ” we will work on the shortcomings” to rebuild the national team. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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