BANGKOK,. Team manager Datuk Ng Chin Chai (pic) predicts another cliffhanger battle when Malaysia take on Indonesia in the Thomas Cup quarter-finals on Thursday.
Yesterday, Malaysia fought valiantly for almost five hours before losing 3-2 to Denmark in the final Group D tie at Impact Arena on Tuesday.
The two points came through Lee Chong Wei and Lee Zii Jia. Others – Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, Aaron Chia-Teo Ee Yi and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin went down fighting in three-game thrillers against their respective opponents.
Based on the fresh draw made on Tuesday immediately after the group matches, Malaysia were drawn against arch-rivals Indonesia. If they win, China await them in the semi-finals.
Chin Chai said Malaysia had a 50-50 chance against 13-time champions Indonesia.
“Of all the four group champions – Indonesia, Japan, China and Denmark, we probably stand a chance against Indonesia,” said Chin Chai.
“I expect the tie against Indonesia to go down to the wire. It’ll start at 8pm (Malaysian time) and probably end after midnight – that’s how close it will be.”
Malaysia’s doubles failed to win any points against Denmark but Chin Chai believed they would rise to the occasions against Indonesia.
“V Shem-Wee Kiong and Aaron-Ee Yi were ranked lower than their Danish opponents but still gave a good fight. It was close for V Shem-Wee Kiong.
“Aaron-Ee Yi gave a good performance and came close to beating Denmark’s experienced pair. Mathias Boe is the brain behind the second doubles (with Mathias Christensen) but our youngsters gave them a run for their money.”
“Our players have had a long day and I hope that they will recover quickly and will be highly motivated to give Indonesia a good fight,” he said.
Asked whether Malaysia will field the same line-up against Indonesia, Chin Chai said: “We’ll discuss. We’ll see whether the players are in good form to play and we’ll discuss with the coaches.”
It looks like Malaysia are set to rest and field Asian junior champion Leong Jun Hao for the third singles and maintain the rest of players in the team.
QUARTER-FINAL FIXTURES (May 24, Thursday)
3pm: China vs Taiwan
8pm: South Korea vs Denmark
8pm: France vs Japan
8pm: Indonesia vs Malaysia
10am: Denmark vs China
10am: South Korea vs Canada
3pm: Indonesia vs Thailand
3pm: Japan vs Taiwan
MALAYSIA VS INDONESIA
(Note: May 3 world ranking in brackets)
Lee Chong Wei (7) vs Anthony Ginting (11)
Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (15) vs Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sukamuljo (1)
Lee Zii Jia (45) vs Jonatan Christie (12)
Aaron Chia-Teo Ee Yi vs Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (51)
Leong Jun Hao (95) vs Ihsan Maulana Mustofa (50)
PAST ENCOUNTERS AGAINST INDONESIA (WON 5, LOST 9)
1958: LOST 3-6 (FINAL)
1967: WON 6-3 (FINAL)
1970: LOST 2-7 (FINAL)
1976: LOST 0-9 (FINAL)
1984: LOST 0-5 (GROUP)
1986: LOST 1-4 (SEMI-FINAL)
1988: WON 3-2 (SEMI-FINAL)
1990: WON 3-2 (SEMI-FINAL)
1992: WON 3-2 (FINAL)
1994: LOST 0-3 (FINAL)
1998: LOST 1-4 (GROUP), LOST 2-3 (FINAL)
2004: LOST 1-3 (QUARTER-FINAL)
2014: WON 3-0 (SEMI-FINAL)
Denmark bt Malaysia 3-2 (Viktor Axelsen lost to Lee Chong Wei 9-21, 19-21; Mads Conrad-Petersen-Mads Pieler Kolding bt Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong 22-24, 21-15, 21-15, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus lost to Lee Zii Jia 18-18-21; Mathias Boe-Mathias Christiansen bt Aaron Chia-Teo Ee Yi 19-21, 21-10, 21-18; Jan O Jorgensen bt Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin 16-21, 21-17, 21-14.)