New Delhi: After the Thomas Cup heartbreak yesterday, China defended their 13th Uber Cup title with a 3-1 victory against Japan in Saturday’s final at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium.
Olympic champion Li Xuerui defeated Minatsu Mitani in only 36 minutes to win 21-15, 21-5. But Japan’s first doubles pair Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi, turned the table on their Chinese opponents with aggressive play to stop Bao Yixin-Tang Jinhua 21-18, 21-9.
World no. two Wang Shixian beat Sayaka Takahashi 21-16, 21-12 to take China 2-1 ahead before China’s second doubles Zhao Yunlei and Wang Xiaoli clinched the winning point for China. World no. three Wang Yihan was not needed to play the last match as winner of the tie already been decided.
This is China’s 13th Uber Cup titles in 16 consecutive final appearances since their first participation at the Kuala Lumpur Thomas-Uber Cup Finals in 1984.
World number one Li Xuerui admitted that China’s Thomas Cup exit had dampened the team morale a little, but world number two Wang Shixian think that defeat actually gave the women’s team extra motivation coming into today’s final.
“A lot of people want to see us lose, because we are so strong compare to other countries. Our Uber Cup team has gone through the same experience four years ago when we lost to Korea. We know how to deal with the pain of losing and we will come back,” said Wang.
This is Japan’s first appearance in the Uber Cup final in 33 years. Japan won five Uber Cup titles between 1966 and 1981 before China began to dominate the women’s badminton.