11:08 pm
24 May 2024

Historic Japan Win Sees Pakistan Exit Asian Top Four

3 Dec 2021

Fifth seeds Japan gatecrashed the men's semi-finals of the Asian Team Championships after stunning fourth seeds and record 15-time champions Pakistan 2/1 in Pool A to finish as group runners-up behind top seeds India.

The victory - Japan's first ever over the long-time regional stalwarts - ensure that Pakistan will finish outside the top four for the first time in the event's history!

World No 269 Ryunosuke Tsukue delivered the winning point for Japan by beating world No 113 Amaad Fareed 12-10, 11-7, 11-6 in the deciding rubber.

Japan No 1 Ryosei Kobayashi had earlier given the team the lead by beating Tayyab Aslam 11-6, 10-12, 13-11, 11-3 before Nasir Iqbal levelled by beating Tomotaka Endo 11-9, 11-9, 11-7.

Meanwhile hosts Malaysia will see both their men and women's teams in the semi-finals as group winners.

The men's team, who had passed their biggest test by beating third seeds Hong Kong 2/1 on Wednesday, never wavered in their focus as they completed their Pool B matches by beating Sri Lanka 3/0 at the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil.

In a 1-2-3 order of play, national No 1 Ng Eain Yow led by example by beating Shamil Wakeel 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 in just 17 minutes.

Ivan Yuen then doubled the lead with an 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 win over Ravindu Laksiri before Syafiq Kamal completed the win by beating Shariff Hakeem 11-3, 11-4, 11-5.

"I think today we were really just trying to recover from our tough match against Hong Kong and we were really looking to keep up our momentum," said Eain Yow.

"I think the team's performance so far has been good although we were a little nervous initially as we have competed in team events in a long time.

"But we have gotten better day by day and it's good to top the group while maintaining our confidence for the semi-finals."

Malaysia will now face surprise opponents Japan.

"We definitely did not expect to face Japan in the semi-finals but we know they have the quality and the potential," Eain Yow continued.

"They are definitely very dangerous and we have to be at our best and be in the right mindset for it."

The other semi-final will be between India and Hong Kong.

Top seeds India downed Indonesia 3/0 to finish top of Pool A while Hong Kong secured their spot as Pool B runners-up after overcoming a tough Iran 3/0.

In the women's competition, the Malaysian women oozed class by thumping the Philippines 3/0 to remain unbeaten in Pool B.

Aifa Azman, Chan Yiwen and Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi delivered the points with team captain Rachel Arnold rested.

The women's team also go on to face Japan in the last four with top seeds Hong Kong taking on India in the other semi-final.