History makers: Hong Kong bow out to powerful Indonesia in Thomas Cup
City reach the quarter-finals of badminton’s most prestigious team competition for the first time, giving their opponents a fair shake before losing 3-1
Hong Kong coach Tim He Yiming says his team is still a work in progress but should be proud of reaching the quarter-finals of the Thomas Cup for the first time in history.
Speaking hours after Hong Kong were beaten by badminton power Indonesia 3-1 in the sport’s most prestigious team competition in Kunshaun, Jiangsu province, China, the coach said his charges had improved immeasurably since losing to the mighty Indonesians 5-0 in the group stage of the competition earlier this week.
“This is the first time we have made it to the last eight in the premier men’s team event which shows our overall strength has improved,” said He.
“We did a better job against the Indonesians after losing all five matches to them in the group stage. We lost both our singles 2-0 in the group stage but it was a lot closer this time in the quarters.
Led by Olympians Angus Ng Ka-long and veteran Hu Yun, Hong Kong pushed the joint third/fourth seeded Indonesians before bowing out.
World number 11 Ng took the first game off Tommy Sugiarto 21-11 in the opening singles but couldn’tmaintain his rhythm and allowed the Indonesian, son of former world champion Icuk Sugiarto, to peg win and win the next two games 21-19, 21-15.
Hong Kong levelled the overall score through Or Chin-chung and Tang Chun-man after a straight games victory in doubles before Hu suffered a 2-1 (21-14, 18-21, 21-16) defeat to 18-year-old Christie Jonatan in the third rubber.
Indonesia, the 13-time Thomas Cup champions, sealed their place to the last four with another win in the second doubles.
“Ng still has a lot to learn playing at the highest level. He committed unforced errors in the deciding game while veteran Hu did well against a much younger opponent.”
Meanwhile, Lee Chong Wei led Malaysia into the Thomas Cup semi-finals by defeating Taiwan 3-1. China, led by Olympic and world champion Lin Dan, are playing South Korea on Thursday night, while Japan face Denmark in the other quarter-final.
In the Uber Cup, Hong Kong women’s team lost all their three matches in their pool and failed to advance to the knockout round.
India defeated Thailand 3-1 to reach the semis along with South Korea who beat Indonesia 3-0. The other quarter-final is between China and Taiwan and Japan and Denmark.
After the Thomas and Uber Cups, Hong Kong will send players to two upcoming superseries tournaments – the Indonesia Open and Australia Open – so that their leading players can retain their ranking and be seeded in the Rio Olympics this summer.