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BADMINTON/Taiwan men make history at badminton Thomas Cup

05/04/2024 03:33 PM
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Taipei, May 4 (CNA) Taiwan achieved its best record at the top-tier men's team badminton tournament in Chengdu, China on Friday, following a 3-1 triumph over Denmark in the quarterfinals.

The Taiwan team defeated their Danish rivals to advance to the Thomas Cup semifinals for the first time, yielding only in the third match, in which Lin Chun-yi (林俊易) lost to Anders Antonsen 21-14, 10-21, 14-21.

The highlight reel went to the first match led by Taiwan's male ace Chou Tien-chen (周天成), who outlasted world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in a 68-minute marathon.

"I just wanted to show the best of me today for the team. Even if I lost the game, I could not have appeared weak. I'm glad that I took down that match today and kept our team going," the former world No. 2 told CNA after beating Axelsen for the fourth time in their 22 head-to-heads.

After splitting the first two games, Chou nailed three points in a row to take a 19-17 advantage, with Axelsen soon narrowing the margin by one point.

The two then engaged in a rally of 49 shots before Axelsen's backhand return fell short, which led him to throw the racket onto the ground to vent his frustration.

Despite conceding another point, Chou was able to close out the match with a smash close to the left sideline that the right-handed Dane could not return.

That performance marked Chou's bounce back from Wednesday when he surrendered to Kenta Nishimoto in 78 minutes in Taiwan's 5-0 loss to Japan in the group stage.

"Thank the Lord for giving me so much confidence. Even though I didn't play well and lost to Japan in my last match, I still have to prepare myself well," Chou said.

Taiwan was able to overcome the Danish team thanks also to the two doubles victories in the second and fourth match, including Olympic champions Wang Chi-lin (王齊麟) and Lee Yang's (李洋) victory over the world No. 4 pair Kim Astrup and Anders Shaarup Rasmussen that followed Chou's win.

"It was truly exciting to see Tien take down the first match, but we still tried to stay calm coming into the match, and I'm very happy that I played normally today," Wang told CNA, saying he finally found his old self after struggling for half a year.

The team will face off at 5 p.m. Saturday against Indonesia, which beat South Korea 3-1 on Friday.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's female team was knocked out in the quarterfinals on the same day by South Korea 3-0. Taiwan's female ace Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎), now No. 5 in the world, did not play due to injury.

(By Li Chien-chung and Chao Yen-hsiang)

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