Champions Indonesia make the final again in dramatic fashion
Firman Abdul Kholik, playing third singles, was the hero of the night as he powered defending champions Indonesia into the men's team final with a 3-2 win over South Korea in the semi-finals in the E-Plus Badminton Asia Championships at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium in Alor Setar on Saturday night.
Indonesia were staring at defeat with a Korea's Lee Dong-keun 20-14 ahead. But with pressure mounting on both players it was Gong-keun who crumbled and the Indonesian reeled off eight points in a row for a 22-20 win as the devil's point deserted Dong-keun.
There was more drama to come as the Korean questioned the umpire who awarded Kholik the point and the match, taking into account that Dong-keun's racket had hit the net. The Korean was given the red card.
It was a sad night for the Koreans who were 2-0 down after losing the first singles and the first doubles through. Jonatan Christie won his singles against Son Wan-ho while Mohammad Ahsan-Angga Pratama the doubles against Chung Eui-seok-Seo Seung-jae.
Korea fought back to win the second singles through Jeon Hyeok-Jin and second doubles through Choi Solgyu-Kim Dukyoung to make it 2-2 on the night - leaving the decider between Firman and Dong-keun.
In the final Indonesia will take on China in the final. China defeated Malaysia 3-0 in their semi-final.
Malaysia, having qualified for the Thomas Cup Finals in May fielded a weak lineup in the the singles - resting world number two Lee Chong Wei in their E-Plus Badminton Asia Team Championships semi-final clash against China and ended up with a 1-3 defeat.
There was no Lee Chong Wei in the lineup as Malaysia fell to a 3-1 defeat to China in the semi-finals in the E-PLus Badminton Asia Team Championships at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium in Alor Setar, Malaysia on Saturday.
Malaysia's only point came from their top doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee who smashed their way to a 21-18, 21-12 win over He Jiting-Tan Qiang in only 30 minutes with a confident performance.
Chong Wei was rested and 19-year-old Lee Zii Jia played first singles. However, a tired Zii Jia failed to lift his game against Shi Yuqi after a tight first game which went 21-18 in favour of his Chinese opponent. In the second game the Malaysian surrendered meekly and lost 21-9.
After V Shem-Wee Kiong had leveled the score at 1-1, China took the second singles through Qiao Bin getting the better of Soong Joo Ven 21-17, 21-8 and sealed the tie in the second doubles.
Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong wrapped up a 21-15, 21-13 win over Malaysia's second ranked pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi.
A disappointed Zii Jia said after the match: "I had a good start and even led in the first game but my opponent played a solid game and it made the difference, Still, I am happy with my contributions to the team overall.
"It shows that I still have a lot to learn and build up my stamina and fitness to play at high level tournaments. I will discuss the matter with my coaches," said Zii Jia after his defeat.
CHINA beat MALAYSIA 3-
MS1: Shi Yuqi beat Lee Zii Jia 21-18, 21-9
MD1: He Jiting-Tan Qiang lost to Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong 18-21, 12-21
MS2: Qiao Bin beat Soong Joo Ven 21-17, 21-8
INDONESIA beat SOUTH KOREA
MS1: Jonatan Christie beat Son Wan-ho 21-18, 21-14
MD1: Mohammad Ahsan-Angga Pratama beat Chung Eui-seok-Seo Seung-jae 21-8, 21-10
MS2: Ihsan Maulana Mustofa lost to Jeon Hyeok-jin 17-21, 16-21
MD2: Rian Agung Saputro-Hendra Setiawan lost to Choi Solgyu-Kim Dukyoung 21-11, 18-21, 19-21
MS3: Firman Abdul Kholik beat Lee Dong-keun 22-20, 11-21, 22-20