China and South Korea power into badminton final (pic)

China's Yihan Wang

KUALA LUMPUR — Defending champions China ruthlessly dispatched Indonesia Thursday in their seemingly unstoppable drive for Uber Cup glory, with only South Korea in the way of a seventh consecutive title.

The Chinese, unbeaten at the women’s world team badminton championships in 12 years, underlined their apparently unshakeable hegemony with a masterclass in clinical finishing to dismiss their rivals 3-0 in the semi-finals.China's Yihan Wang

South Korea, who have lost to China five times at the Uber Cup finals, await them in Saturday’s showpiece after closing out Japan with an easy 3-1 win.

World number one Wang Yihan, the 2009 All-England champion, stalked the service box impatiently as she smashed her way to a 21-7, 21-12 victory to put China one up.

Wang, in no mood for a drawn-out battle after being taken to three sets against India on Wednesday, saw off Maria Febe Kusumastuti in 36 minutes with an array of precision lifts and 14 smashes to her opponent’s six.

"If we win the Uber Cup the honour will belong to the team, but we haven’t won it yet," she said. "When we play Korea it will be a tough game but no matter who I end up playing I’m going to try my best."

Three-time champions Indonesia, who last made the final in 1998, looked on shaky ground when Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari lost the second tie in straight sets to the world’s top doubles team, Ma Jin and Wang Xiaoli.

Adriyanti Firdasari made a brave attempt to stop the Chinese juggernaut but was overwhelmed in the end by world number two Wang Xin, who crafted a 21-17, 21-15 win.

In the other semi-final South Korea’s Bae Seung Hee almost sleepwalked to victory over Japan’s Eriko Hirose, before victories for the Korean doubles pairings made it 3-1.South Korea's Seung Hee Bae

"It was really smooth for us today," said Kim Jong Soo, South Korea’s manager. "We are in the final so we would like to enjoy it for now.

"If we play China right now the line-up we have is pretty decent, but still China are favourites. We are looking for our first singles players to play well and we might have a chance."

World number 16 Bae, who has stepped up her game since losing her first rubber in the group stage against India, unleashed a volley of defensive smashes and smart cross-court drop shots to dismiss Hirose 21-12, 21-16.

With the Malaysians out of the tournament and the audience outnumbered by the press corps, it was left to the teams themselves to provide the noise in a tie that lacked the drama of Wednesday’s quarter-finals.

Lee Hyo Jung and Kim Min Jung had a point to prove after labouring through a three-set rubber in the last round against Russia.

They responded with a confident straight sets victory over Satoko Suetsuna and Miyuki Maeda, tucking into their opponents’ serve and putting South Korea 2-0 up.

Japan came back into the tie with the in-form Ai Goto outplaying left-handed Bae Youn Joo, who has been nursing a fever since landing in Kuala Lumpur, to win 21-10, 22-20.

But it was all over when South Korea’s second doubles pair Lee Kyung Won and Ha Jung Eun saw off Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa 21-14, 21-18.

The men’s Thomas Cup semis are on Friday, with China aiming for their fourth straight title. They play hosts Malaysia, while 13-time champions Indonesia are up against Japan.


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