Shi Yuqi seals Sudirman Cup for China, 3-0, with win over Japan’s Kento Momota

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Kento Momota (left) was choked under pressure facing Shi Yuqi in the 2019 Sudirman Cup final. (photo: osports)
Kento Momota (left) was choked under pressure facing Shi Yuqi in the 2019 Sudirman Cup final. (photo: osports)

Nanning: In an unexpectedly one-sided tie, second seeds China picked up Sudirman Cup trophy for the 11th-times as they blew away top seeds Japan 3-0 in the Sudirman Cup final on Sunday.

The World No. 3 men’s doubles pair Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen kicked off the proceeding for China in the men’s doubles event. On Japan’s side, they didn’t play World No. 2 Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda, instead, they sent World No. 6 Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe to play the “Twin Towers” of China.

Li/Liu were poised for victory and quickly found ways to break through the defense of Endo/Watanabe through powerful smashing, and quick rotation. After winning the first game 21-18, the Chinese pair doubled down on their aggressiveness to destroy Kamura/Sonoda who pretty much have lost their confidence with a 21-10 win in the second game.

The Chinese team poses for pictures during the 2019 Sudirman Cup awards ceremony in Nanning, China. (photo: Xinhua)
The Chinese team poses for pictures during the 2019 Sudirman Cup awards ceremony in Nanning, China. (photo: Xinhua)

The men’s doubles victory has clearly motivated both the Chinese women’s singles player Chen Yufei and also the home crowd. Although Chen Yufei lost the first game to Akane Yamaguchi 17-21, with the fans shouting and cheering during points, Chen rallied to take the second game 21-16. Chen reeled off 7 consecutive points, coming back from 6-11 to eventually crush Yamaguchi 21-17 in the decider. Chen’s win also put China ahead with 2-0.

“I was having difficulty catching up with Yamaguchi’s tempo in the first set in which I ended up wasted a lot of my energy,” said Chen.

Right before the men’s singles match, no one could have expected that Chinese would sweep Japan 3-0 in Sudirman Cup final, because World No. 1 Kento Momota was holding a commanding 4-1 career record against World No. 2 Shi Yuqi.

Momota lived up to his billing and captured the first set 21-15. However, his sudden collapse in the second set by losing to Shi 5-21 made the crowd thinking he must be conserving his energy and was waiting for a fierce fight back in the decider.

And, surely, Momota was more proactive at the beginning of the decider to quickly establish a 3-2 lead. Well, that actually marked the end of the decider as Shi quickly erased the deficit by scoring the next eleven points consecutively, and sealed the victory for China with a 21-11 win in the rubber game.

“I was more decisive in the second and third set. Momota must be really exhausted from playing against Ginting in the semi-final,” said Shi after the match.

“Momota has played all matches except the tie against Russia. Japan has no choice but to play him again in the final,” said Japan’s head coach Park Joo-bong.

The 11th-time Sudirman Cup winners, China, also defeated Japan 3-0 in the 2015 final while Indonesia (1989) and Korea (1991, 1993, 2003 and 2017) are the two other countries have ever won the prestigious mixed team championships.

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