May 20, 2016

    Malaysia enter Thomas semis, Thailand exit Uber


    LEE Chong Wei led Malaysia into the Thomas Cup semi-finals on Thursday but there was Uber Cup heartbreak for Rat-chanok Intanon as Thailand crashed out against India.

    Lee, the world No. 2, kick-started Malaysia's effort with whipping overheads and delicate, cross-court drop shots as he beat Chou Tien-chen 21-18, 21-18.

    Afterwards, Lee brushed off suggestions that pressure was mounting on Malaysia's men as they seek to end their 24-year drought at the world team championships.

    "A win for today and then I'll focus on tomorrow," said Lee, who is eyeing a maiden Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro in August.

    Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin thrashed Hsu Jen-hao before doubles team Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong won the decisive match as Malaysia clinched it 3-1.

    Indonesia also reached the Thomas Cup semis thanks to strong singles performances from Tommy Sugiarto and Jonatan Christie as they sent Hong Kong packing 3-1.

    In the women's Uber Cup, second-ranked Ratchanok utilised her crafty backhand and sliced forehands as she beat Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal 21-19, 21-12.

    But Pusarla V. Sindhu made short work of Busanan Ongbumrungphan and Gadde Ruthvika Shivani beat Nitchadon Jindapol 21-16, 21-18 as India clinched it 3-1.

    "We thought we had less of a chance after Saina losing," said Shivani. "Our first step was to beat the Thai team... so we'll decide what to do (in the semis) now."