Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus revelled in his role as fifth match specialist once again, taking Denmark past China to the top of Group B.
It was only the third victory ever for Denmark over China in a team event.
The Danes had to claw their way back from 1-2 down after losing the first doubles and second singles. Scratch pair Anders Skaarup Rasmussen and Frederik Sogaard got them level, and Vittinghus once again stepped up to for Denmark, taking on Korea Open champion Weng Hong Yang.
The craft and experience of the 36-year-old were very much in evidence as he denied the lanky left-hander the pace at which he could have been dangerous. Weng found few opportunities to unleash his fearsome smashes, and Vittinghus nailed the tie with the 16-21 21-19 21-18 result.
“I wasn’t feeling too tired, the adrenalin was pumping,” said Vittinghus. “I’m not sure how many Thomas Cup matches I have left in me, so I really wanted to enjoy this one and give it everything. For us, it was really a symbolic win that we could defeat China. We don’t do that too often, it’s the third time ever. We haven’t beaten them for 24 years. It’s important to show that we can beat them..”
Malaysia Too Strong For Japan
Kento Momota-led Japan faded before a strong Malaysian charge led by Lee Zii Jia in the final tie of Group D.
Japan’s troubles were evident from the opening match, with Momota outgunned 21-17 21-8 by Lee Zii Jia. Malaysia went 2-0 up through Goh Sze Fei/Nur Izzuddin, who dismissed world champions Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi in straight games.
Although Kanta Tsuneyama kept Japan alive in the contest, Malaysia’s scratch pairing of Aaron Chia/Teo Ee Yi outplayed Akira Koga/Yuta Watanabe in an entertaining contest, 22-20 21-17.
“Although I’m not in the national team, I used to play with Aaron before, so we are used to this combination,” said Teo. “We have grown since then, and we trust each other.”