European Champion Denmark (winner of the European Men's Team Championships earlier this year) will face New Zealand in their second match in group D tomorrow to book a place in the Thomas Cup quarter-finals after beating South Africa in dominant fashion.
Viktor Axelsen, current world number four, got Denmark off to a good start in the tie by beating Jacob Maliekal, world no 78, 21-14, 21-11 on Friday. Then former European Champion Jan Ø. Jørgensen beat Cameron Coetzer in two straight games 21-9, 21-9 to ensure a 2-0 lead for the Scandinavians.
Hans-Kristian Vittinghus sealed the win by beating Andries Malan 21-7, 21-7, after just 21 minutes of play.
„Good solid start for us at the Thomas Cup finals beating South Africa 5-0 just as most probably expected us to do. Not much trouble in any of the five matches, but we still had some good fights and enjoyed our time on court“, wrote Vittinghus on Facebook.
European Champions Mads Kolding and Mads Conrad (pictured) beat Andries Malan/Willem Viljoen (21-8, 21-17) and Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen saw off Cameron Coetzer/Jacob Maliekal 21-13, 21-16 to secure a comfortable 5-0 opening victory for Denmark.
Denmark are hopeful that their doubles star Mathias Boe – who did not play at an international tournament since February - will be in a good shape - to help their attempt to win a medal.
In 2004 and 2006, Denmark reached the finals at this prestigious event – both times the Danes were defeated by China.
Malaysia too strong for Germany - China saw off France
Germany lost to Malaysia 0-5, and also France were beaten by hot favourite China 5-0. In the second men's singles, Lucas Claerbout (pictured below) was able to take a game off legendary Lin Dan.
Korea prove too strong for England
England's men endured their second defeat at the Thomas Cup Finals in Kunshan on Monday.
England were unable to threaten a strong Korean team and their bid to progress to the knock-out stages was ended when they were beaten in the opening three rubbers in their Group C clash.
Rajiv Ouseph, the world number 15 who was rested for England's first match, started off proceedings in the singles and was narrowly beaten by world number nine Wan Ho Son 21-19, 21-19.
Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge then lost their second match of the week when ousted by Yong Dae Lee and Yeon Seong Yoo 21-11, 21-12.
Toby Penty put up a good performance in a narrow defeat to Dong Lee 22-20, 21-18 over 49 minutes.
With Korea holding an unassailable 3-0 advantage, the second men's doubles rubber saw Matthew Nottingham and Harley Towler go down 22-20, 21-8 to Sung Hyun Ko and Baek Cheol Shin.
In the last match of the group encounter, Sam Parsons lost out to Hyeok Jin Jeon 21-6, 21-10. Following a 4-1 opening day defeat to Malaysia on Sunday, it means that England can't qualify for the knock-out quarter-finals on Thursday.
England will instead battle it out for third place against Germany on Tuesday.
Thomas Cup results:
Denmark bt South Africa 5-0 (10-0)
Malaysia bt Germany 5-0 (10-0)
China bt France 5-0 (10-1)
Korea bt England 5-0 (10-0)
Uber Cup results:
Thailand bt Bulgaria 5-0 (10-1)
Japan bt Germany 5-0 (10-0)
Click here for all results from Monday.
Article by Manuel Rösler. Photos by BadmintonPhoto (LIVE).