Defending champions China had to dig deep to avoid a surprise defeat to Indonesia, winning 3-2 on Thursday in the quarter-finals of the Sudirman Cup.
KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions China had to dig deep to avoid a surprise defeat to Indonesia, winning 3-2 on Thursday in the quarter-finals of the Sudirman Cup.
Two days after whipping their arch rivals 5-0 in a group match, China, who have not lost a tie since falling 2-3 to South Korea in the 2003 final, were stunned by a determined and gallant Indonesian outfit.
China will play Denmark in Saturday’s semi-finals after the Europeans easily defeated underdogs Taiwan 3-0.
At the last Sudirman Cup two years ago, China thrashed Denmark 3-0 in the final. And Chinese supremo Li Yongbo was unperturbed.
"We have won it for so many times – eight times," the coach said after their match against Indonesia.
"I don’t mind if we lose it as long as my players show their determination and fighting spirit… Sometimes it’s good for other teams to win it."
Denmark coach Lars Uhre warned China to brace itself for a tough fight.
"They are not invincible. Indonesia proved that today. If we can get a good start, we stand a good chance of upsetting them," he said.
The other semi-final is between Thailand, who upset Japan 3-1 on Thursday, and South Korea, who hammered Germany 3-0.
Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir gave the 1989 champions a dream start when they defeated the world number one mixed doubles pairing of Ma Jin and Xu Chen in three games.
China’s Chen Long, as expected, levelled the scores when he beat Tommy Sugiarto. But then Rian Agung Saputro and Angga Pratama edged Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng.
The Chinese women then turned on the power as Olympic champion Li Xuerui outclassed Lindaweni Fanetri, and world champions Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli beat Liliyana Natsir and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari.
Coach Li blamed "a few bad line calls" for the men’s doubles loss though he praised the Indonesians for performing "above expectation".
Technology to review disputed line-calls, as in tennis and football, is being tested at the cup, but it can’t be used to challenge decisions yet.
Meanwhile, South Korea kept up their performance of reaching every Sudirman Cup semi-final when they outclassed Germany.
The three-time champions were simply too strong for the European champions.
"We expected to win and march on, and we all did exactly what we were expected to do," said Lee Yong-Dae, who played in the men’s doubles.