Korean tactics 'rob' India of place in Asia Cup final
India were robbed off a place in the final of the ATF Asia Cup as Korea 'threw' their match against Thailand 1-2 to keep the hosts at bay.
Korea, who are the strongest among the four participating nations, were assured of a berth in the final following two straight 3-0 wins. Another victory on Saturday would have
meant a Korea-India final in the fourth edition of the event.
"We were robbed of the place in the final. We've been
cheated...it's daylight robbery in our own country," an upset
Mahesh Bhupathi told reporters after the Delhi Lawn Tennis
Association decided to lodge an official complaint with the
Asian Tennis Federation.
Korea fielded their third player to play the opening
singles and Thai No.2 Attapol Rittiwattanapong thrashed him
6-3, 6-3, in just 50 minutes, to give Thailand a 1-0 lead.
The best rated player of the tournament Korean Hyung-Taik
Lee, who has been in tremendous form took identical time in
beating Danai Udomchoke 6-3, 6-1 to draw level.
After the two teams were locked 1-1, word spread of a possible
rehearsed game-plan, of the Koreans conceding defeat in the
As the tie between Supparat Chukawan/Danai Udomchoke and
Seung-Hun Lee/Yong-Il Yoon unfolded, one could see through
Korea's tactics and the result 6-1, 6-4 seemed to comfirm it.
While it was in the air that "Thailand would cause an
upset", Korean captain Won-Hong Joo, who preferred not to sit
in his designated chair during the first tie and the doubles
match, blurted out their infamous game-plan later.
Joo said: "Players had decided that it would be easy to
play Thailand in the final than India. Also winning here would
mean the prize-money will go to the players unlike in other
team competitions such as Davis Cup where the prize amount
goes to the association.
"It was their wish. Players are convinced that Thailand
would be an easy opponent," he told reporters.
ATF officials -- tournament referee Nao Kawatei and chief
executive S Uttarapati -- however, refused to budge.
"We'll have a meeting and listen to what the Indian team
management have to say," Uttarapati said.
Kawatei on the other hand dismissed the allegations saying
he was not aware of what the Korean captain had said.
Asked which rules he would apply if India's complaint is
accepted, Kawatei said while all the team events organised by
ATF apply Davis Cup rules, "I did not find anything awry. May
be the Koreans were tired and Thailand played well," Kawatei said.
Organisers DLTA were, however, quick to react saying they
would take the issue up very seriously with ATF.
"It appears that best efforts were not put by the Koreans.
They played with the intention of not playing (against)
India," said organising secretary Akhouri Bishwadeep.
"We definitely feel the Indian team was robbed of a place
in the final. This is a general feeling," he said, adding that
both DLTA and All India Tennis Association have decided to
lodge a protest.
"The grapevine -- that Korea may lose to Thailand to keep us
out -- was buzzing since last evening and we had spoken to proper
authorities but they laughed it off," he said.