JAPAN chief coach Park Joo-bong was in good mood after avoiding China in the quarter-finals.
Yesterday, Japan upset Denmark 3-2 for the first time in the Sudirman Cup series to top Group D while eight-time champions China oozed class to romp past Indonesia 5-0 to top Group A.
Being seeded teams, they will not meet each other in tomorrow’s quarter-finals and that will surely strengthen his team’s chances of making the semi-finals for the first time.
“We have a fighting chance against any team but we sure are glad to have avoided China,” said Joo-bong.
“Japan have only beaten Denmark once in a team event and that was in the Uber Cup. We are truly pleased with the victory today.”
There was more joy for Joo-bong when his women’s doubles shuttlers Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi delivered on their promise by stunning the more-fancied Christinna Pedersen-Kamilla Rytter Juhl to clinch the winning point.
Earlier, singles star Kenichi Tago pulled off a sensational 13-21, 21-19, 27-25 win over Jan O Jorgensen while Sayaka Takahashi took advantage of Line Kjaersfeldt’s inexperience for a 21-18, 21-15 win.
“The women’s doubles was the key … and, today, they proved themselves. They played the right tactical game. Even our mixed doubles gave a good fight. Team morale is high going into the quarter-finals,” said Joo-bong.
China’s Li Yongbo gave his team the thumbs-up for their performance although his blue-eyed boys and four-time world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng struggled for a 16-21, 21-15, 21-15 win over Hendra Setiawan-Angga Pratama.
“Since both teams (Indonesia and China) had confirmed their places for the quarter-finals, they played without any pressure and were relaxed today. Now that we are in quarter-finals, we are ready to face anyone,” said Yongbo.
“This was Cai Yun-Haifeng’s first match in the tournament and Li Xuerui’s first match in her maiden Sudirman Cup outing. Chen Long did his normal thing to win. Overall, it was a good win.”