Home2024SELBATC 2024 - Malaysia take on China in finals, set sights on...

SELBATC 2024 – Malaysia take on China in finals, set sights on second successive title

REIGNING champions Malaysia inched closer to realising their hopes of a second successive Badminton Asia Team Championship title after storming into the men’s team finals of the biennial tournament tomorrow at Setia City Convention Centre here.

 

The host will clash against China, who defeated Korea 3-2, in tomorrow’s final (scheduled at 1600hrs local time).

 

Two winning points from world No. 10 Lee Zii Jia and top pair Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik steered Malaysia to the 3-1 win over Japan, assuring Malaysia of a place in the finals. 

 

Goh Sze Fei/Nur Izzuddin, who delivered the winning point in Malaysia’s 3-1 victory against Singapore in yesterday’s quarterfinals, were again the toast of the team when they captured the winner in a 54-minute battle against Kenya Mitsuhashi/Hiroki Okamura in the second doubles encounter. 

 

Zii Jia set the right tone tonight with a consistent attacking display against Kenta Nishimoto in the first singles, rattling and giving no chance to the world No.12 to eventually win 21-18, 21-15 in 51 minutes. 

 

“So far, I’m happy with my performance which has also boosted my confidence level, except for my sinus problem…my team will be monitoring my health. But as long as I’m healthy, I’ll be on the court helping my teammates,” said Zii Jia after his match. 

 

Aaron/Soh clawed back from a game down to win the second tie against Akira Koga/Taichi Saito 15-21, 21-17, 21-10 in 66 minutes, widening the gap with a 2-0 lead over the Japanese. 

 

“It was not an easy game…but after losing the first game, we regained our momentum in the next two games and played more consistently, with timely follow-ups and good execution to beat the Japanese pair,” said Soh Wooi Yik.

 

“We’re thankful to fans who have been giving us solid support and motivation all this while,” said Aaron Chia. 

 

Malaysia’s second singles Leong Jun Hao played one of his best games against Koki Watanabe, showing maturity throughout the rubber game. The world No.20 Japanese however, capitalised and punished Jun Hao’s errors in the last part of the third game to eventually win 19-21, 21-12, 21-19 in a marathon 90-minute match.

 

At 2-1, hopes were high on Goh/Nur Izzuddin to shine once again and send Malaysia into their third straight finals. Despite some tough resistance from Mitsuhashi/Okamura, the Malaysian world No.22 pair lived up to expectations and kept their composure intact to win their 54-minute battle 21-15, 21-19. 

 

This will be Malaysia’s third straight finals in the tournament, after finishing runners-up in Manila in 2020 and winning the 2022 edition. 

 

China and Korea, meanwhile, were locked in a tight battle which had to be decided in the last singles tie. China had taken the lead through Weng Hong Yang who upstaged Cho Geonyeop 21-11, 16-21, 21-15 but Korea’s world No.3 pair, Kim Min Hyuk/Seo Seung Jae levelled terms after defeating Chen Bo Yang/Liu Yi 22-20, 21-5 in 25 minutes. 

 

Lu Guang Zu put China back in the front but doubles pair Kim Dong Ju/Kim Won Ho forced a decider in the last singles after defeating Ren Xiang Yu/Xie Hao Nan. 

 

Lei Lan Xi then needed only 39 minutes to confirm China’s spot in the final, hoping to capture the title after finishing runners-up in 2018. 

 

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