Malaysia's Sudirman Cup 2021 group-stage campaign ended with a bloodied nose courtesy of Japan
In the third and final Group D game held in Vantaa, Finland yesterday, 30 September, Malaysia's shuttlers were outclassed 4-1 by Japan.
The national contingent took an early lead via men's doubles stars Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, but from that point on Japan dominated proceedings without losing a single game.
Kisona Selvaduray lost to world number five women's singles juggernaut Akane Yamaguchi, before captain Lee Zii Jia was downed by world number one Kento Momota 21-18, 21-10.
The outcome was sealed as the women's doubles pair of Pearly Tan-Thinaah Muralitharan failed to capitalise on their opponents' injury, before Hoo Pang Ron and Cheah Yee See's loss rounded out the hiding in the final mixed doubles matchup.
Despite the loss, Malaysia advances into the knockouts after two wins out of the gate in Group D
After a narrow 3-2 win over England in the opening group match on 28 September, Malaysia had actually rested the roster which faced Japan in game two.
Despite the wholesale-rotation, our second stringers pulled off an impressive 5-0 win against Egypt, thus clinching early progression into the knockout rounds of the Sudirman Cup.
The young guns put on a measured display belying their tender years, with a notable win coming courtesy of 21-year-old men's singles hopeful Ng Tze Yong, who brushed aside Mohamed Mostafa Kamel 21-8, 21-2.
The quarter finals are set to take place later today.
Our shuttlers will be facing up against the eternal rival Indonesia.
Progressing from Group D in second place, Malaysia has been drawn to face our old foe in an all-ASEAN clash, while Japan will take on Chinese Taipei.
These two matchups are scheduled to begin at 9pm Malaysian time tonight, 1 October.
Elsewhere, defending champions China take on the indomitable Denmark, while South Korea play Thailand in another titanic encounter.
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