TUC – China blanks Japan, draws Korea for quarters

Thomas Cup holder Japan put up a valiant fight but were still shut out 5-nil by China in the last round robin tie. By Don Hearn.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for […]

Thomas Cup holder Japan put up a valiant fight but were still shut out 5-nil by China in the last round robin tie.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live)

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Thomas Cup favourite China but the 5-0 final scoreline is all that matters for now.  After fifteen straight match victories, China proceeds, along with Japan and 6 other teams, into the quarter-finals.

China actually started slightly on the back foot as two-time World Champion Chen Long dropped his first game of the tournament so far, to Japan’s Sho Sasaki.  Sho took the opener 22-20 but was unable to maintain and Chen took the next two games to put his team up 2-0.

It was even more worrisome for Chinese supporters in the second match as Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa (pictured right) fought back from 4-11 down in their second game to pass Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan (pictured top).  The Japanese pair kept their nerve after a harrowing officiating error forced them to save a match point at 23-24.

The two were incensed when a video replay on the large screen clearly showed Endo’s smash hitting Zhang Nan’s leg and fluttering over the back line.  The umpire saw neither the contact – which was on the side of Zhang’s leg opposite him – nor the subsequent irregular flight of the shuttle and in addition to failing to call a fault, granted the Chinese request for a line call challenge, which confirmed that the shuttle had landed well long of the back line.

The Japanese players kept their cool and maintained the pressure on the Chinese players, finally closing out the game 27-25.  They played more successful catch-up in the third game but after earning a 14-12 lead, they let their form slip and the Chinese pair ran away with the deciding game.

Lin Dan then dominated Takuma Ueda in the second men’s singles, winning the second game 21-8 and the victory was sealed.

On an adjacent court, China’s Uber Cup team had won five easy matches to beat Denmark.  The two Chinese teams were the only ones in the competition to emerge from the round robin stage without dropping a match.  Korea’s Uber Cup team won 14 of 15 matches, as did Indonesia’s Thomas Cup team.

Later in the evening, the draw was held for the quarter-final stages.  In the Thomas Cup, China will face Korea, while Japan takes on Denmark in both the Thomas and Uber Cup quarter-finals.

On Tuesday, Korea’s men’s team finished second to Malaysia in Group C.  Korea and Malaysia are the only two teams in the competition who have 3 top entries with winning records over counterparts in China’s strongest line-up.  Korea’s top two doubles pairs have winning records over Fu/Zhang and Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen respectively and Jeon Hyeok Jin and Malaysia’s Chong Wei Feng are the two players who came to Kunshan with winning records over Tian Houwei (pictured above).

Click here for complete Wednesday results

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