KUALA LUMPUR (14 MAY 2010) – There was not to be another fairy tale ending for father-to-be Sho Sasaki despite delivering another sterling performance when he stopped Indonesia’s Simon Santoso in a three-set thriller to put his team back into contention in the first Thomas Cup semi-final this afternoon.

His 21-19, 13-21, 21-11 win in 66 minutes in the second singles prevented Indonesia from on outright victory when he put the score at 2-1 to give Japan a fighting chance.

But Indonesia went on to beat Japan 3-1 to book their place in the final when Nova Widianto-Alvent Chandra in the second doubles staved off a strong rally from Kenichi Hayakawa-Kenta Kazuno before winning 21-14, 22-20 in 33 minutes.

Sasaki’s win kept his unbeaten run in this year’s Thomas Cup intact after winning his first match which was against Nigeria’s Ifraimu Jinkam 21-4, 21-14 in a Group B encounter.

The 27-year-old then followed it up with a 21-17, 21-18 victory over Malaysian veteran Wong Choong Hann – coming to Japan’s rescue after the Malaysians had taken a 2-0 lead.

Playing in his fourth Thomas Cup Finals after making his debut in the qualifying rounds in 2002, Sasaki said: “I did not fare well in recent international tournaments but it has been a great run for me in the Thomas Cup here.

“I just take instructions from my coaches. They are the ones who decide on the lineup. If I am asked to play, I just go out and give my best for my country,” said Sasaki, who is ranked third in Japan behind Kenichi Tago and Kazushi Yamada.

“Frankly, I did not even think that I will be playing here in Kuala Lumpur. But it has turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. I thank the coaches for the trust they showed in me. It has been a great run for the team.

“Reaching the semi-finals and beating Malaysia 3-2 are among the achievements that we can be proud of,” said Sasaki.- Media247

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