Malaysia to meet defending champion China in Suhandinata Cup final
It is a China-Malaysia final in this year's Suhandinata Cup mixed team championships in Bilbao, Spain.
In the semi-finals on Saturday the Malaysians, pulled off another upset to reach the final at the expense of Thailand with a 3-1 win. In the quarter-finals on Friday the Malaysians downed last year's runners-up Indonesia also 3-1.
However, Malaysia face a tough hurdle to win the Suhandinata Cup against mighty China who are hot favourites to retain the title. China have won the Suhandinata Cup 10 times and could make it 11 times in Bilbao.
China waltzed past Japan 3-0 in the semi-finals but the Malaysians are in form and could just upset the form book yet again if they play their cards right.
Malaysia's only success in the mixed team event was five years ago when they won the coveted Suhandinata Cup in Taipei in 2011. Malaysia were runners-up in 2009 when the world meet was held in Alor Setar in 2009.
In the semi-finals against the Thais fell behind when the mixed doubles pair of Ooi Zi Heng-Pearly Tan Koong Le lost 22-20, 20-22, 12-21 to Pakin Kuna-Anuvit-Reuthaichanok Laisuan.
Malaysia, however, not only drew level after winning the men's singles through Lee Zii Jia who beat Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-18, 21-13 but took a 2-1 lead when Goh Jin Wei won the women's singles against Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-12, 21-15.
Men's doubles Chen Tang Jie-Man Wei Chong clinched Malaysia's winning point and unassailable 3-1 lead when they beat Panachai Worasaktayana-Warit Sarapat in 32 minutes.
China were hardly tested by the Japanese, except in the men's singles where Sun Feixiang was stretched to three sets by Koki Watanabe in his 9-21, 21-10, 21-17 win in 55 minutes to give his team a 2-0 lead.
He Jiting-Due Yu gave China the first point by winning the mixed doubles with a 21-17, 21-16 win over Hiroki Okamura-Nami Matsuyama. China sealed the tie by winning the men's doubles through Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong. The Chinese beat Masayuki Onodera-Hiroki Okamura 21-19, 21-12.
China beat Japan 3-0
Sun Feixiang beat Koki Watanabe 9-21, 21-10, 21-17
Han Cheng Kai-Zhou Haodong beat Masayuki Onodera-Hiroki Okamura 21-19, 21-12
Du Yu-He Jiting beat Ling Fang Hu-Li Wei Su 21-16, 21-7
Malaysia beat Thailand 3-1
Lee Zii Jia beat Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-18, 21-13
Chen Tang Jie-Man Wei Chong beat Warit Sarapat- Panachai Worasaktayana21-18, 21-12
Goh Jin Wei beat Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-12, 21-15
Ooi Zi Heng-Pearly Tan Koong Le lost to Pakin Kuna Anuvit-Ruetthaichanok Laisuan 22-20, 20-22, 12-21