Malaysia secured a long-awaited spot in the Thomas Cup semi-finals courtesy of a stunning 3-1 victory over Japan, and the team will now go on to face host China in the last four on Saturday.

Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin ensured Malaysia’s path into the last four after they came from a game down to beat Akira Koga-Taichi Sato 18-21, 21-15, 21-12, which saw the pair mobbed by their team-mates in celebration.

The 3-1 victory also meant the men’s team progressed past the quarter-finals for the first time in eight years, having crashed out in the last eight at the 2018, 2020 and 2022 editions.

Japan were dealt with a blow before the contest took place when Kodai Naraoka was declared unwell, and his replacement Kenta Nishimoto proved no match for Lee Zii Jia in the first singles.

The Malaysian put the first point on the board with a thumping 21-13, 21-3 victory over the out-of-sorts Japanese, who simply had no answer to Lee’s dominance which lasted 33-minute.

But Japan levelled the scores through Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi, who overcame Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik 18-21, 21-14, 21-19 in a thrilling contest.

Chia-Soh did so well to battle back from 14-19 to 19-19 in the deciding game, but Hoki-Kobayashi held out to earn the crucial point and continue their great win record against the Malaysians which now stretches to 8-2.

But Malaysia went ahead again, thanks to a brilliant effort from Leong Jun Hao in the second singles to overcome Koki Watanabe 21-13, 21-10.

The world number 37 played arguably one of his best matches this year, finding plenty of winners through his accurate smashes and his exquisite net play that unsettled Watanabe.

His big win paved the way for Goh-Izzuddin to seal the deal, and ultimately deny Kento Momota a chance of playing his final international match in the third singles against Justin Hoh.

China will prove a different opposition altogether in terms of quality, after the 10-time champions also beat India 3-1 to book their place in the semis.