THOMAS CUP 2012 Final – Twin dragons rise

Favoured China was dominant enough, breezing through the entire Uber and Thomas Cup competitions without losing a single match, but then they took it to another level, as Korea’s men […]

Favoured China was dominant enough, breezing through the entire Uber and Thomas Cup competitions without losing a single match, but then they took it to another level, as Korea’s men did not manage even a single game in the Thomas Cup final.

By Kira Rin, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

In a repeat of the 2008 Thomas Cup final, Korea was making its second appearance in the finals, facing off the Great Wall of China.  Traditionally, only 3 countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, and China – have won the Thomas Cup and again it remained to be seen if Korea could join the exclusive club.

A tale of two left-handers

As befitting the first singles match, each country sent in their top singles players.  Both Lee Hyun Il of Korea and Lin Dan (pictured) of China stepped forth to claim the first match point.  Both veterans played patiently, playing long extended rallies, smashing only when a chance presented itself.  In front of the loud home crowd support, Super Dan took home the first game with patient rallying and defense.

Lee Hyun Il couldn’t find his accurate touch with the shuttle, hitting many unforced errors.  With high shots sometimes going out, a frustrated Hyun Il took to hitting winners near the net and keeping the shuttle low.  This effort paid off with Lee erasing an 8-point deficit.  Lin Dan could now feel the heat from the Korean’s rising pace and responded in kind.  Super Dan pushed his pace even higher and brought home the first match point, to the cheers of the home crowd.

A scratch pair leaves their mark

With the absence of Jung Jae Sung, who was resting due to his lower back injury, Team Korea had to rely on Lee Yong Dae’s ability to synchronize well with other partners.  This was no easy task, as the opponents were the world #1’s: the speedy and crafty Cai Yun and heavy smasher Fu Haifeng.  It was a big gamble for Korea to field Lee Yong Dae and Kim Sa Rang (pictured) to face off against the mighty Chinese pair.

Both Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng (pictured below) viciously attacked Kim Sa Rang, and it was only thanks to Yong Dae’s court coverage that they maintained a respectable scoreline in the first game.

Even so, Kim was able to step up to occasion to extend his coverage and retrieval of shots.  During their attacks, the experienced Lee Yong Dae took the back, leaving Kim Sa Rang to display his own brilliance at the net.  This attacking strategy proved effective, propelling the second game to a 20-all.

The Korean had 4 precious game points to convert but let slip at the critical moment when China had the second match point, with Sa Rang hitting the last shot out.

Red dragon rising

Shon Wan Ho showed the excellent fitness that helped him win against Lee Chong Wei earlier in the year, matching Chen Long shot for shot.  Chen Long was, however, just a step ahead, ending rallies with his smashes or watching the Koreans shots sailing out.  This one-sided domination of rallies helped Chen Long earn the first game while dropping only 9 points.

Shon briefly had a 8-7 lead on Chen Long (pictured) in the second game; however, the dragon pulled away, and finally grabbed the last remaining match point for China much to the delight of his team who ran on court to congratulate the victor, and by extension, also to the delight of his home fans who had come to support their country.

With Chen Long’s victory, this marks the 9th time China has won the Thomas Cup and the 7th time holding both the Thomas Cup and the Uber Cup together.  This also marks the 5th consecutive time they have won the Thomas cup, equalling a streak previously recorded by Indonesia from 1994 to 2002.


Results

China 3, Korea 0
MS1: Lin Dan bt Lee Hyun Il 21-14, 21-17
MD1: Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng bt Kim Sa Rang / Lee Yong Dae 21-16, 25-23
MS2: Chen Long bt Shon Wan Ho 21-9, 21-13
(not played)
MD2:
Hong Wei / Shen Ye vs. Kim Ki Jung / Yoo Yeon Seong
MS3:
Chen Jin vs. Lee Dong Keun

About Kira Rin