BUKIT JALIL: A fantastic showing by the men’s doubles shuttlers at the Korean Open last week, has raised Japan’s hope of putting in another strong challenge to the more fancied teams in the Thomas Cup Finals in New Delhi in May.
Last week, their world No. 6 Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa went down fighting 20-22, 20-22 to eventual champions Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark in the semi-finals.
Their younger compatriots Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda, the world No. 15th, dumped second seeds Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang of South Korea in the opening round.
National coach Keita Masuda believes they have enough depth to challenge all the teams, including Malaysia at the Finals.
“Our senior and junior doubles players did well at the Korean Open and that augurs well ahead of the world team competition. We have strong men’s singles and doubles this time,” he said.
KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has promised to bounce back stronger at the Malaysian Open after failing to get off to a dream start in the season-opening Korean Open in Seoul.
The 31-year-old shuttler went down 14-21, 15-21 to China’s Chen Long in Sunday’s 56-minute men’s singles final, thus crushing his hopes of winning the Korean Open for the fourth time.
It was Chen Long’s eighth win over Chong Wei in 15 meetings – and his fourth consecutive victory over the Malaysian – in a period of 14 months.
The powerful Chen Long, who is trying to fill in the shoes of five-time world champion Lin Dan, produced an efficient display to give himself an early 25th birthday present.
Chen Long, who turns 25 on Jan 18, accelerated to a 7-0 first-game lead in just six minutes – showcasing his brilliance at the net and superb execution of smashes from the baseline.