Japan Make History to Win Their First Ever Thomas Cup Title
- 25 May 2014
After shocking the world by defeating reigning champion China in the semifinal, Japan was crowned with the Thomas Cup title for the first time in history. Japan won in a thrilling final against Malaysia, 3-2, making Japan only the fourth nation to ever win the Thomas Cup. The Japan women’s team also advanced to the final for the first time in 33 years, winning the silver medal. The host country India took home their first ever Uber Cup bronze medal.
In the first match, Lee Chong Wei (VTZF2, SHB01LTD) faced off with Kenichi Tago, who defeated world No. 2 Chen Long in the semifinal. Chong Wei controlled the rally to take the first game 21-12, and showed superb performance in the second game, scoring 10 consecutive points from 10-15. He smashed to finish the game by 21-12 21-16.
Doubles saw world No. 3 Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa, against Tan Boon Heong(NR-ZSP, SHBF1NLTD)/Hoon Thien How (VTZF, SHBF1NLTD), who defeated world No. 1 Mohammad Ahsan (NR900, SHB87LTD)/Hendra Setiawan (NR900, SHBF1NLTD) in the semifinal. Powerful attacks from Boon Heong/Thien How forced errors on Hiroyuki/Kenichi, taking the first game with 21-12. However, the Japanese pair took control of the pace making use of various rallies, like lower driving shots and deep clear shots. In response, the Malaysian duo also gained control over the pace, with the decider transforming into a flurry of attacks by both sides, giving the audience no time to blink. The highlight of the match was the final point won by Hiroyuki and Kenichi. Despite Boon Heong and Thien How showing amazing defence, Kenichi finally pushed at the net to finish the game. The final score was 12-21 21-17 21-19.
Japan’s rising star Kento Momota took to the court against Chong Wei Feng (VTZF) next. The 19-year-old Kento took the initiative throughout the game against Wei Feng, who had been on a campaign of victories throughout the week. Kento perfectly controlled the rally to bring Japan to a 2-1 lead, ending with a score of 21-15 21-17.
In the second doubles match, Keigo Sonoda/Takeshi Kamura won their first game against Tan Wee Kiong (VTZF)/Goh V Shem (ARC11, SHB87LTD), 21-19. But Wee Kiong/V Shem started to show great defence, scraping away at Keigo/Takeshi’s stamina, with the two unable achieve a good rhythm. Wee Kiong controlled the lower rally, creating chances to smash. The Malaysian duo evened the score to 2-2, winning the match by 19-21 21-17 21-12.
The Championship point fell heavy on the shoulders of Takuma Ueda and Liew Daren (VT80). It was an intense match, coming down to the wire in the final game. Shouting after taking every point, these two took all their skills to the max. The two played to their fullest, with only a slight difference in fortitude deciding the match. Daren had a little more errors than Takuma, giving him the lead to reach the Thomas Cup point. Takuma shouted in celebration of his victory, after the smash from Daren was side out. The final score was 21-12 18-21 21-17.
At the Uber Cup, the Japan women’s team defeated India, who had been on a winning streak in their home country, to advance to the final by close score of 3-2. The performances from both the Japan men’s and women’s team were sensational. Their next target is YONEX OPEN JAPAN 2014 in their home country, which will be held from June 10th to 15th. It goes without saying that defending champions, such as Lee Chong Wei, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan are aiming for the title. Keep your eyes on their further achievements!
Lee Chong Wei Wins BWF Male Player of the Year Award
With seven BWF World Superseries titles in 2013, Chong Wei was awarded BWF Male Player of the Year for 2013 on Friday, May 23rd. The Promising Player of the Year (Eddy Choong Award) for 2013 was won by Akane Yamaguchi. Akane won the World Junior Championships in 2013 and retained it in April this year. She also became the youngest ever Superseries winner at YONEX OPEN JAPAN 2013.
Japan 3-2 Malaysia
Kenichi Tago lost to Lee Chong Wei 12-21 16-21
Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa def. Tan Boon Heong/Hoon Thien How 12-21 21-17 21-19
Kento Momota def. Chong Wei Feng 21-15 21-17
Keigo Sonoda/Takeshi Kamura lost to Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong 21-19 17-21 12-21
Takuma Ueda def. Liew Daren 21-12 18-21 21-17