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 Indonesia who edged South Korea 3-2 in a pulsating battle that stretched to the very last game.

South Korea were one point from victory when Firman Abdul Kholik clawed his way back from 16-20 to defeat Lee Dong Kuen 22-20 in the deciding tie. Firman won the first game 22-20 but dropped the second at 11-21.

Malaysia, who rested singles ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei, were simply unable to make it past the mighty Chinese. The Malaysians stunned 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. Despite his best efforts, the 19-year-old lost 21-18. It was Shi Yuqi, currently seventh in the world, all the way in the second game. He dominated and pulled away to a 19-9 lead before wrapping up at 21-9 to claim the first point.

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 fight 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.

Meanwhile, Indonesia shot to a 2-0 lead after singles star Jonatan Christie defeated veteran Son Wan Ho 21-18, 21-14 in 45 minutes. Mohammad Ahsan and Angga Pratama added a second point when they charged to a smashing 21-8, 21-10 win, in 23 minutes, over Chung Eui Seok-Seung Jae Seo.

Indonesia’s hopes of settling the score early were dashed when Jeon Hyeok Jin got the better of Ihsan Maulana Mustofa, who went down 17-21, 16-21 in just under an hour.

Indonesia missed their chance to seal the win when Rian Agung Saputro-Hendra Setiawan slipped up against Choi Solgyu-Kim Dukyoung. Indonesia had a glorious start but failed to carry it through in the second and decising games. The Koreans won 11-21, 21-18, 21-19 to put the score at 2-2.

In the decider, which turned out to be a cliffhanger of a battle, Firman had won the first game 22-20 but Dong Kuen came back to win the next at 21-11.

Dong Kuen was one point from taking his team through at 20-16 but Firman turned in an awesome performance to bag eight straight points to win 22-20 and lead Indonesia into the final.



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 bt South Korea 3-2

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 bt Lee Dong Kuen 22-20, 11-21, 22-20 (84 mins)

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