China’s women are the overwhelming favourites to take their 13th Uber Cup title but just how completely has each player been dominating their respective challengers in each discipline?
By Don Hearn. Photos: Badmintonphoto
China blanked Korea in the Uber Cup final two years ago to win back the Women’s Team World Badminton Championship title they lost in 2010 for the first time this millennium. They return in 2014 with an incredible gap in the world team rankings.
The next three teams seem very close in the rankings, though, and just how the Uber Cup competition might unfold depends on a lot more than the top seed. What follows is a compilation of the head-to-head statistics for the highest ranked players and pairs that each seeded team can field in each of the disciplines. Naturally, injuries and creative decisions by coaching staffs could result in some of these match-ups not taking the stage in New Delhi later this month but the numbers below might give us an indication of where the favoured teams might feel the most vulnerable.
|Li (CHN)||Mitani (JPN)||Intanon (THA)||Sung (KOR)||Fanetri (INA)||Kjaersfeldt (DEN)||Nehwal (IND)||Tai (TPE)|
|Sung Ji Hyun||0-5||4-0||6-3||–||3-0||N/A||1-4||4-4|
|Tai Tzu Ying||0-6||1-2||4-4||4-4||1-0||N/A||2-5||–|
|Wang (CHN)||Takahashi (JPN)||Buranaprasertsuk (THA)||Bae (KOR)||Manuputty (INA)||Madsen (DEN)||Sindhu (IND)||Pai (TPE)|
|Bae Yeon Ju||0-11||2-1||3-1||–||N/A||N/A||2-0||5-1|
|Anna Thea Madsen||N/A||0-1||N/A||N/A||N/A||–||N/A||N/A|
|P. V. Sindhu||3-2||0-1||2-1||0-2||1-1||N/A||–||N/A|
|Pai Hsiao Ma||0-4||0-1||1-1||1-5||N/A||N/A||N/A||–|
* Includes one win for Wang Shixian (pictured above) at the 2010 Asian Games
|Wang (CHN)||Hirose (JPN)||Jindapon (THA)||Kim (KOR)||Kusumastuti (INA)||Jensen (DEN)||Pantawane (IND)||Lee (TPE)|
|Kim Hyo Min||N/A||N/A||0-1||–||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Maria Febe Kusumastuti||0-2||1-1||1-2||N/A||–||N/A||1-0||N/A|
|Lee Chia Hsin||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||–|
|Bao/ Tang (CHN)||Matsutomo/ Takahashi (JPN)||Aroonkesorn/ Voravichitchaikul (THA)||Jang/ Kim (KOR)||Maheswari/ Polii (INA)||Rytter Juhl/ Pedersen (DEN)||Gutta/ Ponnappa (IND)||Cheng/ Hsieh (TPE)|
|Rytter Juhl/ Pedersen||0-3||4-2||4-0||2-1||0-3||–||2-0||N/A|
|Tian/Zhao (CHN)||Kakiiwa/ Maeda (JPN)||Supajirakul/ Taerattanachai (THA)||Jung/Kim (KOR)||Bernadeth/ Pradipta (INA)||Damkjaer Kruse/ Roepke (DEN)||Gadre/ Reddy (IND)||Kuo/Wang (TPE)|
|Damkjaer Kruse/ Roepke||0-3||N/A||N/A||1-0||N/A||–||N/A||N/A|
Any rays of light for the dark horses?
It is true that the last time China failed to take home the Uber Cup, their three defeats came out of nowhere, as Bae Seung Hee had never beaten Wang Yihan before and neither Ha Jung Eun nor Kim Min Jung had ever won a match against any first-string Chinese pair. However, Team China will be relying on a very experienced group of ladies in 2014, with the notable exception of Bao Yixin and Tang Jinhua who, like Wang Xiaoli in 2010, have not yet participated in a major team championship. While Wang and Ma Jin went to Kuala Lumpur four years ago having never been defeated by a non-Chinese pair, Bao and Tang will arrive in New Delhi with exactly one such loss on their record.
The Chinese shuttler who does not have a winning record against a possible counterpart is Wang Shixian at second singles. Should China face India, Wang would be looking to finally tie her head-to-head record with Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (pictured), who was the victor in the two ladies’ first three encounters.
|China – Strongest Uber Cup Line-up?|
|Li Xuerui||Wang Shixian||Wang Yihan||Bao/Tang||Tian/Zhao|