China survive Sudirman Cup scare, to meet Korea in the final

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Lin Dan is keeping a steady pace in his buildup for the Sudirman Cup final.
Lin Dan is keeping a steady pace in his buildup for the Sudirman Cup final.

Gold Coast: Ten-time Sudirman Cup winners China was pushed to the fifth match, before women’s doubles pair Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan pulled off a huge upset to beat World No. 1 Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan 21-12, 21-19 to clinch the victory point for China.

Japan got off to strong start when their mixed doubles pair Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino overcame China’s World No. 1 mixed doubles pair Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen 21-12, 14-21, 21-19 to claim the first point for Japan.

Five-time world champion Lin Dan kept the China team alive in its Sudirman Cup semi-final when he outlasted Kenta Nishimoto 21-19, 21-16 in the men’s singles, before China’s men’s doubles pair Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen extended the tie to 2-1 by beating Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda 23-21, 21-16 in men’s doubles.

However, Akane Yamaguchi of Japan repelled a Sun Yu fightback to send Japan’s Sudirman Cup clash with China into a deciding fifth rubber in Gold Coast.

World No. 1 women’s doubles player Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi nevertheless was struggling against Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan of China, bowing out 12-21, 19-21 in 55 minutes.

In other semi-final, South Korea powered past Thailand 3-1 to set up a final clash against China on Sunday.

“It’s amazing! Our team was considered pretty weak because our senior men’s doubles players left the team at the eleventh hour,” said South Korean head coach Kang Kyung Jin.

“Our goal was to reach the quarter-final, and we have exceeded our goal,” added Kang.

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