Lee Chong Wei led Malaysia into the Thomas Cup semi-finals on Thursday but there was Uber Cup heartbreak for Ratchanok Intanon as Thailand crashed out against India.
Lee, the world number two, kick-started Malaysia’s effort with whipping overheads and delicate, cross-court drop shots as he beat Chou Tien-chen 21-18, 21-18.
Afterwards Lee brushed off suggestions that pressure was mounting on Malaysia’s men they seek to end their 24-year drought at the world team championships.
“A win for today and then I’ll focus on tomorrow,” said Lee, who is eyeing a maiden Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro in August.
Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin thrashed Hsu Jen-hao before doubles team Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong won the decisive match as Malaysia clinched it 3-1.
Indonesia also reached the Thomas Cup semis thanks to strong singles performances from Tommy Sugiarto and Jonatan Christie as they sent Hong Kong packing 3-1.
In the women’s Uber Cup, second-ranked Ratchanok utilised her crafty backhand and sliced forehands as she beat Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal 21-19, 21-12.
But Pusarla V. Sindhu made short work of Busanan Ongbumrungphan and Gadde Ruthvika Shivani beat Nitchadon Jindapol 21-16, 21-18 as India clinched it 3-1.
“We thought we had less of a chance after Saina losing,” said Shivani. “Our first step was to beat the Thai team… so we’ll decide what to do (in the semis) now.”