A two-time silver medallist at the world championships and Olympics, Lee had hoped to break Malaysia's 22-year jinx at the Thomas cup but his hopes went up in smoke after Daren Liew suffered a 12-21 21-18 17-21 defeat against world no. 25 Takuma Ueda in the last match of the tie at Siri Fort Sports Complex.
For Japan, who reached the final stage 13 times, it has been one of the best days in their badminton history as they clinched their maiden Thomas cup title, barely 24 years after their women's team finished runners-up in Uber Cup.
Social networking sites were flooded with pictures and wishes for the Malaysian team following their entry into the finals after 12 years and Lee reposed the faith of his fans by giving them a positive start. He thrashed world no. 4 Kenichi Tago 21-12 21-16 in the first singles.
However, the doubles pair of Kenichi Hayakawa and Hiroyuki Endo, ranked three in the world, rallied from behind to eke out a hard-fought 12-21 21-17 21-19 win over Boon Heong Tan and Thien How Hoon to bring Japan back in the tie as Lee sank in his chair on the sidelines.
A lot was expected from young Chong Wei Feng, who has been in rampaging form in the tournament so far. But the world No 27 failed to get across 14th ranked Kento Momota and lost 15-21 17-21 in the second singles as Malaysia lagged 1-2.


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