China dominate S Korea to clinch Uber Cup final
KUNSHAN (China)—Olympic champion Li Xuerui led the Chinese national squad to victory over South Korea at the Uber Cup final in China Saturday, securing the country’s 14th world badminton team championship title in dominant fashion.
China rarely surrendered command over the court during its 3-1 triumph in front of a packed home crowd in the eastern city of Kunshan, near Shanghai.
Li, the world number three, brushed off an early deficit after dropping the first game to seventh-ranked Sung Ji-hyun.
The Olympic gold medallist rallied back for the win by controlling the pace and keeping the South Korean out of sync with repeated drop shots in the 14-21, 2113, 21-10 victory.
“Every step in the team match is one step for myself,” Li told a news conference after the match, adding she planned to celebrate “quietly” after the week-long tournament.
Sixth-ranked doubles team Jung Kyung-eun and Shin Seung-chan from South Korea prevented a whitewash, powering through a 16-21, 21-17, 25-23 scrap against the world number four China duo of Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei that clocked in at 94 minutes.
Wang Shixian put China back in the win column as she exhausted Kim Hyomin, moving the shuttlecock across the court at will during the 21-13, 21-12 rout.
Following the win, Wang downplayed her individual efforts and Olympic ambitions as Rio approaches, saying she was proud to be “fighting for our team, for our national team”.
Chen Qingchen and Tang Yuanting delivered the third and final victory in the best of five series by beating Chang Ye-na and Lee So-hee in straight sets, 21-14, 2116.
With the championship sealed, the fans in attendance unleashed a deafening approval of the pair’s spirited performance as their teammates rushed onto the court to celebrate.
The South Koreans, who were aiming to end their six-year drought at the Uber Cup, were unable to find their groove during the tie and suffered in the absence of their second singles player Bae Yeon-Ju, who was sidelined by an ankle injury sustained on court Friday night.
China has won three-straight Uber Cups and 14 in total since the team first started competing in the tournament in 1984.—AFP