Malaysia win Axiata Cup; Asian All Stars finish third
World No.1 Lee Chong Wei won himself a perfect gift for becoming a father for the first time by helping Malaysia win the Axiata Cup on Sunday.
Lee, whose wife Wong Mew Choo gave birth to a boy on Friday, joined the Malaysian team for the final against Thailand, and he duly ensured a 3-1 win by beating young Thai Tanongsak S.
Earlier, Asian All Stars, with Tarun Kona and Ashwini Ponnappa in its ranks, finished third by beating Indonesia.
It was Thailand that went ahead in the final, when recent All England finalist Ratchanok Intanon outclassed Sonia Cheah 21-16 21-17. However, the young Malaysian mixed doubles pair of Chang Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying held off the challenge of the veteran pair of Sudket Propakamol/ Saralee T in straight games, 21-16 21-15.
It was Lee Chong Wei’s turn next, and he made no mistake by disposing off Tanongsak 21-12 21-18. Malaysia won the next rubber, with experienced men’s doubles pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong powering past Boonsak Ponsana/Songphon A 21-10 21-17.
In the third-place playoff, Asian All Stars surprised a strong Indonesian team 3-1. World No.9 Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) won the first point for Asia with a 21-18 22-20 result over Lindaweni Fanetri in the women’s singles rubber. Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka of Indonesia took on veteran Korean Lee Hyun Il next, and managed to stretch the match to three games, but Hyun Il devastated him in the third, 21-19 16-21 21-6.
The Indian mixed doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Ashwini Ponnappa faced Muhammad Rijal/Debby Susanto. The Indians fought hard, but the Indonesians edged past them, 16-21 21-16 21-15.
The fourth rubber was between the Chinese pair of Bao Chunlai/Zheng Bo and Hendra Setiawan/Mohd Ahsan. The Chinese won the first game easily, 21-12, and the Indonesians conceded the match, helping Asian All Stars clinch the third place.
Asian All Stars team:
Lee Hyun Il (Korea)
Bao Chunlai (China)
Zheng Bo (China)
Yip Pui Yin (Hong Kong)
Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei)
Ashwini Ponnappa (India)
Tarun Kona (India)