The Japanese badminton team topped Malaysia 4-1 Thursday (30 September), winning Group D at the 2021 Sudirman Cup in Vantaa, Finland. Both teams advance to the quarter-finals.
Malaysia took an early lead, winning the opening men’s double match 22-20, 14-21, 21-16 as Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik defeated Hoki Takuro and Kobayashi Yugo.
Japan drew even after Yamaguchi Akane beat Kisona Selvaduray in the women’s singles match. Yamaguchi won both sets 21-14.
In the men’s singles match, Japan’s Momota Kento bested Lee Zii Jia (21-18, 21-10) to give Japan a 2-1 lead heading into the final two matches of the day. Momota’s victory was a rebound for the two-time (2018-19) world champion who lost in the group stage at Tokyo 2020.
Victory by Matsuyama Nami and Shida Chiharu over Tan Pearly and Thinaah Muralitharan in the women’s doubles match up gave the Japanese a 3-1 lead and clinched Group D win. The Japanese duo took the match 21-16, 21-17.
With team victory assured, the Japanese mixed doubles team of Watanabe Yuta and Higashina Arisa dominated Hoo Pang Ron and Cheah Yee See, 21-16, 21-19.
For the quarter-finals, the top teams from each group will be drawn against a second-place finisher from another group.
The group winners are China, South Korea, Indonesia and Japan, while the runner-ups have been Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Denmark and Malaysia.
China have won this tournament 11 times, South Korea four times and Indonesia won the inaugural tournament in 1989. No other nations have managed to lift the trophy.