HK face relegation play-off with Japan

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 May, 2009, 12:00am

Hong Kong will face Japan in a relegation battle after both teams finished bottom in their respective groups at the Sudirman Cup world team championships.

Japan came last in group 1B when they were beaten by England 4-1 last night, while Hong Kong also suffered their third straight defeat in their last group match after losing to South Korea in group 1A.

Hong Kong coach Chan Chi-choi was not disappointed with the result as their sights were already set on Friday's relegation match. 'We knew before we came here that our mission will be the relegation match to stay in the top tier after we were drawn in the group of death,' he said. 'Japan showed a strong fighting spirit in all their three group matches and it will be very difficult to predict the result.

'We will put up our strongest line-up and try our best to win it.'

Top player Zhou Mi, who missed last night's match and the previous one against Malaysia, will play in both singles and doubles tomorrow.

Hot favourites South Korea were represented by a second-string team after two straight wins in the group, but Hong Kong were unable to take the advantage, losing 3-2 in front of a 3,000 crowd at Guangzhou Gymnasium.

Yip Pui-yin, who had not played in the doubles for more than two years, partnered up-and-coming Hui Wai-ho in the mixed doubles but they were beaten 10-21, 21-11, 21-16 by Kim Min-jung and Yoo Yeon-seong.

Hong Kong then levelled the overall score at 1-1 when Chan Yan-kit won a quick-fire men's singles, defeating Shin Baek-cheol 21-14, 21-9.

But Albertus Njoto and Yohan Wiratama were totally outclassed in the men's doubles as Hwang Ji-man and Han Sang-hoon thrashed the Hong Kong pair in two games 21-10 in just 24 minutes. After going 2-1 down Wang Chen, now player-coach of the Hong Kong team, levelled the score for Hong Kong after coming from behind to beat Kim Moon-hi 2-1.

'I played two doubles matches in the first two days and it took me some time to adjust to the pace in the singles,' said the veteran, who turns 33 next month. 'But overall my performance is fine and I hope to have the chance to play again in the relegation battle.'

The Koreans wrapped up the match with Ha Jung-eun and Kim Ming-jung defeating Chau Hoi-wah and Chan Tze-ka 2-0 in the women's doubles 21-7, 21-14.