A Kento Momota-inspired victory over Lee Zii Jia helped Japan beat Malaysia and win Group D as both teams marched into the Sudirman Cup quarter-finals
Having confirmed their berths prior to this encounter, Momota vs Lee was the marquee showdown of this tie, with the Japanese eyeing to avenge his defeat to the Malaysian at the All-England in March.
The Japanese looked to be back at his best after defeating Lee 21-18, 21-10 in 47 minutes, a victory that did not seem as straightforward as he trailed 0-6 in the first game.
Lee did not play badly, but he found it tough to answer the relentless high tempo the world number one produced, especially in the second game.
Malaysia had earlier taken the lead through a powerful performance from Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, who beat Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi 22-20, 14-21, 21-16.
The 67-minute battle saw the Malaysians edge a tightly contested first game 22-20, before the Japanese leveled.
The Tokyo Olympics bronze medalists found an extra gear in the third game to seal victory for the advantage.
World number five Akane Yamaguchi restored parity for the 2019 finalists after a clinical 21-14, 21-14 victory over the 53rd ranked S. Kisona in the women’s singles match.
Japan’s victory was sealed in the women’s doubles through world number 10 Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida, who beat M.Thinaah-Pearly Tan 21-16, 21-17.
Thinaah-Tan put on a bold display throughout the 50 minutes but could not find a way to unlock their opponents’ sturdy defence.
A draw for Friday's quarter-finals will be made later.