KAZAN UNIVERSIADE – Korea relegates China to a 3rd team silver

China came up short in its 3rd straight attempt at a Universiade badminton mixed team gold medal, while Lee Yong Dae led Korea to its first victory. By Don Hearn.  […]

China came up short in its 3rd straight attempt at a badminton mixed team gold medal, while Lee Yong Dae led Korea to its first victory.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

In the last three Summer Universiade badminton competitions, China has seen a quality team go down in the mixed team final.  In 2007, Thailand faced down the challenge from the likes of Chen Hong, Wang Yihan, and Pan Pan / Tian Qing.  In 2011, at home in Shenzhen, China fielded a seriously understrength team that was no match for the best of Indonesia’s student players.

Yesterday in Kazan, Russia, Korea had recruited every national team player currently enrolled in a and was able to put forward what looked more like a contingent for a Superseries event and they got the desired result.  The Koreans trounced their Chinese opponents 3-0 to take the gold medal.

In fact, the semi-finals were much closer contests on both sides.  Chinese Taipei veteran Chen Hung Ling contributed points in men’s and mixed doubles to keep things respectable in his team’s semi-final against China while Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk showed she is back in form as she took points in women’s singles and doubles, against world #5 Sung Ji Hyun and India Open semi-finalists Jang Ye Na / Kim So Young respectively.

Still, it was China and Korea that each got the 3-2 victory they needed to reach the final.  Once there, Korea unleashed star player Lee Yong Dae first in mixed doubles and then in men’s doubles, with his regular world #1 partner Ko Sung Hyun (pictured top).

China’s mixed doubles specialist at these Games, Liu Cheng, is perhaps best known for winning, in 2010, the World Junior mixed doubles championship, which Lee Yong Dae had won in 2006.  However, his best result on the adult tour actually came when he reached the semi-final of the 2011 Canada Open, where he and Luo Ying bested Lee Yong Dae and Ha Jung Eun in the second round.

In Kazan, however, Liu Cheng and Luo Ying’s sister Luo Yu (pictured) were unable to score a game from the scratch partnership of Lee and Jang Ye Na, who have played together in only the four matches since the beginning of the World University Games on Friday.

Macau Open runner-up Gao Huan was the heavy favourite going into his men’s singles match against Korea’s Hong Ji Hoon (pictured).  Not only has Hong dropped to #100 in the world after a run of early exits in 2013 tournaments, but Gao had won the two shuttlers’ only ever meeting, at last year’s Indonesia Grand Prix Gold.  However, Hong drew first blood and he bounced back from losing the second game to take the match in three.

With two pivotal matches in the bag, attention then turned to the easiest one to call and the French and Korea Open winners Ko Sung Hyun and Lee Yong Dae made quick work of Li Gen and Chen Luoxun to clinch the gold for Korea.

Going into the individual competition, which begins on Tuesday, things are getting interesting for the women’s singles, in particular, with the semi-final wins by Sun Yu and Porntip Buranaprasertsuk over their top ten opponents Tai Tzu Ying and Sung Ji Hyun respectively.  This is before the likes of Pai Hsiao Ma and Yao Xue have even seen any action.

Kazan Universiade Mixed Team Final result: Korea 3, China 0
XD: Lee Yong Dae / Jang Ye Na (KOR) beat Liu Cheng / Luo Yu (CHN)  21-14, 21-16
MS: Hong Ji Hoon (KOR) beat Gao Huan (CHN)  21-19, 17-21, 21-19
MD: Ko Sung / Lee Yong Dae (KOR) beat Chen Luoxun / Li Gen (CHN)  21-9, 21-11

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net