Japan seal third spot in Uber Cup qualifying campaign
KUALA LUMPUR: Japan completed their qualifying campaign for women’s Asian Zone Uber Cup by clinching third spot with a 3-1 victory over Malaysia here on Saturday.
But Japan, who started the tournament as second seeds, found the going far tougher in the third-fourth playoff game against Malaysia, opponents they had humbled 5-0 in the group stage. Malaysia were beaten by Taiwan in a surprise semi-final result to send them into the playoff.
Wong Mew Choo eventually overcame a spirited challenge from Kanako Yonekura 10-13, 11-2, 11-6 to put Malaysia ahead, but the Japanese drew level when Shizuka Yamamoto-Seiko Yamada defeated Fong Chew Yen-Ooi Sock Ai 15-10, 15-11. Kaori Mori outclassed Wong Sze Mei 11-6, 11-5 in the third match to give Japan a 2-1 lead before Keiko Yoshitomi-Kumiko Ogura gave Japan an unassailable 3-1 lead by defeating Chin Ee Hui-Mooi Hing Yau 15-9, 15-3. The final was being fought later Saturday between South Korea and Taiwan. Thailand defeated India 3-0 to take fifth place in the competition. In the men’s Thomas Cup semi-finals Saturday, Malaysia take on South Korea while China play Japan. All four teams have, however, qualified for final round in Jakarta.
Earlier on Friday, South Korea and Taiwan booked a place in the women’s Uber Cup Asian Zone qualifiers overcaming Malaysia and Japan respectively in the semi-finals. While the South Korean win was expected, the manner in which Taiwan defeated Japan, who were the second seeds, took spectators by surprise. Cheng Shao Chieh defeated Kanako Yonekura in a hard-fought match, winning with a 13-12, 6-11, 11-8 scoreline to give Taiwan the lead. Doubles pair Chien Yu Chin and Cheng Wen Hsiang got the better of Chikako Nakayama and Keiko Yoshitomi 15-10, 15-9 to extend Taiwan’s lead to 2-0. Huang Chia Chi booked Taiwan’s place in the final by defeating Miho Tanaka 11-4, 11-9.
In the South Korean semi-final against Malaysia, Jun Jae Youn gave South Korea the lead when she outclassed Wong Mew Choo 11-2, 11-1 in 25 minutes. And Korean doubles pair Ra Kyung Min and Lee Kyung made it 2-0 by defeating Chin Eei Hui and Wong Pei Tty 15-8, 15-3. Kim Kyung Ran was however forced to retire when playing Woon Sze Mei with the score at 11-5, 5-11, 4-6, giving the hosts a glimmer of hope. However Korean second pair Lee Hyo Jung and Hwang Yu Mi ensured South Korea’s place in the final when they trashed Fong Chew Yen and Ooi Sock Ai 15-1, 15-2 in less than half an hour. —AFP