SOUTH KOREA and Japan were made to slog for their victory by Taiwan and India respectively in the Uber Cup Asian Zone qualifying round at the KLBA Stadium in Cheras yesterday.
South Korea won the tie 4-1 but not before a scare from Taiwan who made life difficult for the top seeds in Group B while an under-strength Japan beat India 3-2 in Group A. Korea were given the expected lead by Jun Jae Youn in the first singles when she defeated Cheng Shao Chieh 11-3, 11-4. However, Ra Kyung Min-Lee Kyung Won, ranked World No 4, were almost shocked by Cheng Yu Chin-Cheng Weh Hsiang but rallied for a 13-15, 15-2, 15-13 win to give Korea a 2-0 lead. Taiwan saved the tie through Huang Chia Chi who beat Kim Kyueng Ran 11-3, 11-6 but doubles Lee Hyo Jung-Hwang Yu Mi gave Korea an unassailable 3-1 lead when they defeated Yang Chia Chen-Chang Yun Ju 15-4, 15-12. Seo Yoon Hee restored some pride for Korea as she defeated Peng Hsiao Feng 11-3, 11-2 in the third singles. However, the loss did not affect both teams as Korea and Taiwan have already qualified for the final round by clinching the top two places in Group B. Japan rested their top player Kanako Yonekura and the move gave India the first point through Aparna Popat who defeated Miho Tanaka 11-8, 7-11, 11-2 in the first singles. However, Shizuka Yamamoto-Seiko Yamada registered a convincing 15-7, 15-3 win over Jwala Gupta-Shruti Kurian to level the score. Kaori Mori put Japan ahead when she defeated B.R. Meenakshi 11-9, 11-4 in the second singles while scratch pair Keiko Yoshitomi-Kumiko Ogura defeated Nazneen Fatima-Manjusha Kanwar 15-4, 15-3 to confirm victory. India won the third singles through Trupti Murgunde who beat Yu Hirayama 4-11, 11-4, 13-10. In the Thomas Cup, Thailand defeated Vietnam 4-1 while Japan defeated Pakistan 5-0 in their preliminary ties. The preliminary ties will be concluded today with Thailand facing a difficult task of qualifying for the final round. They must beat favourites China in Group D to earn their ticket while the winners of the tie between Japan and Singapore will proceed to the final round in Jakarta. South Korea should book their place by beating India in Group A while Malaysia meet Hong Kong in Group B.