Lee Zii Jia leads Malaysia to victory over England as China and Japan cruise in the group stage of the Sudirman Cup

Malaysia edge past England 3-2 as Japan and China enjoy 5-0 wins over Egypt and India respectively. 

By Sanjeev Palar

Malaysia's captain Lee Zii Jia led his team to a slim 3-2 victory in their opening round group-stage match against England at the ongoing Sudirman Cup in Vantaa, Finland.

The world mixed team badminton championship, which takes place every two years, features a best-of-five match format, with one match played from each discipline of the sport - men's singles and doubles, women's singles and doubles as well as mixed doubles.

Malaysia secured the first point of the competition courtesy of mixed doubles pair Hoo Pang Ron and Cheah Yee See, who beat Olympians Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith 21-19, 21-18.

Lee then took to the court himself and doubled the scoreline after crushing Johnnie Torjussen 21-4, 21-15.

Newly crowned Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik ensured victory for the Asians when they defeated Ben Lane and Sean Vendy 22-20, 21-18.

England were able to pull back a couple of points in the Group D encounter thanks to the women's singles and doubles effort. Abigail Holden beat Kisona Selvaduray, while Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith edged past Peary Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan.

Aaroh Chia and Soh Wooi Yik from Malaysia at the Sudirman Cup
Picture by Badmintonphoto | Courtesy of BWF

The other Group D match saw Japan, who were runners-up in the last edition of the tournament, pull off a 5-0 victory against Egypt.

The Japanese opted to rest their big names like Momota Kento and Okuhara Nozomi for their opening encounter.

Both Japan and Malaysia are expected to win their next group stage matches against England and Egypt respectively to ensure they advance to the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Malaysia will face-off against Japan on 30 September to determine who tops Group D.

Reigning champions China remain on course to defend their title after booking their spot in the quarter-finals with a convincing 5-0 win over India.

Newly crowned Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei as well as Shi YuQi were on court to help secure points in the women's and men's singles respectively against an Indian side that does not include two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu.

China, who beat hosts Finland 5-0 in their opening Group A encounter, will next play Thailand on 29 September to determine who tops the group.

Click here for full results from the 2021 Sudirman Cup.

China's Chen Yu Fei in action at the 2021 Sudirman Cup
Picture by Badmintonphoto | Courtesy of BWF