SUDIRMAN CUP 2015 Final – 10th for China!

China let actions speak and proved to the whole world they were still the dominant nation on the badminton circuit despite having being severely shaken on many occasions. The powerhouse […]

China let actions speak and proved to the whole world they were still the dominant nation on the badminton circuit despite having being severely shaken on many occasions. The powerhouse only used their first matches to grab their 10th title and 6th in a row as the 2015 Vivo wound up.

By Tarek Hafi. Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live)

It was no secret China had not come to get an extra position but rather to act as the main character in this Sudirman Cup, which was taking place on their home soil.  They achieved once again what no one managed to do in the history of Sudirman Cup, grabbing a tenth title.  It has now been a decade of domination from the Chinese, who not only retained the title to make it a remarkable six in a row, but who also inflicted a three-to-nothing win in the final for the sixth consecutive occasion, since Glasgow 2005.

Despite an inconsistent tournament, Japan lined-up their best men’s doubles pair, in the name of Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa against Zhang Nan and Fu Haifeng (pictured), who were reunited after a brief separation in the semis when Fu was paired again with his former partner Cai Yun.  It was a great call by China as, despite the vigorous battle, the most consistent of China’s current men’s doubles pairs succeeded in grabbing the first point in this final.

It was a delight for the Dongguan crowd, as both sides played their hearts out, despite Japan’s being struck by five service faults called on Hayakawa. The Japanese kept their nerves and fought until the end, until the Chinese made a clear difference towards the end of the third game, defeating their opponents 21-17, 20-22, 21-17 in an hour and nineteen minutes.

Olympic champion Li Xuerui then entered the arena to meet Akane Yamaguchi (pictured above) for a third duel between the two players. The world number one, though having won both previous encounters, was forced to go the full distance against Yamaguchi, one of the best defensive players on the circuit.

And it was indeed the youngster who first got a quick lead in the first game, alternating technique and great court coverage. But the lead obtained by the seventeen year-old Japanese player was quickly gone when Li Xuerui (pictured), started displaying her excellent all-round game with some amazing net shots. After a first game won by a whisker, 23-21, the Chinese ace, looking all the more confident, went on to take the second game 21-14, sealing her victory after forty-two minutes of play.

As the third match was about to being, one man stepped into the arena and was greeted by the roar of a completely fired-up crowd, a reception that could only have been for the two-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time World Champion Lin Dan (pictured). The living legend came onto court to face last Thomas Cup hero Takuma Ueda, a player Lin had only met once in the past. With Kento Momota injured, Japan’s head coach Park Joo Bong had no choice but to line-up the twenty-six year-old – who is still only the fourth-ranked Japanese player in the world men’s singles rankings – against the great Chinese veteran.

Despite Lin Dan’s prestige, Takuma Ueda did not shiver and fought hard to level up the game on many occasions, only declining in the latter stage of the game to a very solid Lin Dan. Although Takuma Ueda had been the one who managed to help his team get the Thomas Cup title against Malaysia, China’s power and domination over the game remains indisputable. The world number two, Lin Dan, grabbed an expected title after two straight games over the Japanese player, engraving a bit more China’s untouchable power as team.

China will now be on another Sudirman Cup quest taking place in the Gold Coast, Australia. But a year after the Olympics, with many of the present pillars of the Chinese team as well as other teams’ stars possibly enjoying well-deserved retirement, one might get to see some changes in the badminton world.

Sudirman Cup Final Result: China 3, Japan 0
MD: Fu Haifeng / Zhang Nan (CHN) beat Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa (JPN)  21-17, 20-22, 21-17
WS: Li Xuerui (CHN) beat Akane Yamaguchi (JPN)  23-21, 21-14
MS: Lin Dan (CHN) beat Takuma Ueda (JPN)  21-15, 21-13
WD: Ma Jin / Tang Yuanting (CHN) vs. Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [not played]
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) vs. Kenta Kazuno / Ayane Kurihara (JPN) [not played]

Click here for complete results

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