Kunshan: Badminton powerhouse China managed to exact their revenge in front of home crowd on Wednesday when they produced ruthless destructions to beat Japan 5-0 to top Group A in the Thomas Cup Finals.
Japanese team stunned China in the 2014 Thomas Cup semi-finals, and went on to win their first ever Thomas Cup after beating Malaysia in the final. However, with the absence of Kenichi Tago, and Kento Momota who were suspended in April over a gambling scandal, the Japanese team was struggling to put up a good fight against China on Wednesday.
After dropping a set, World No. 1 Chen Long fought back to scrap past Japan’s Sho Sasaki 20-22, 21-17, 21-12 in 85 minutes.
“I had to really stay focused in order to beat Sho Sasaki,” said Chen after the match.
“The real challenge starts in the knockout stage tomorrow,” added Chen.
China’s Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan had to endure a desperate run of forms by Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa before surviving scare to keep China ahead with 2-0, stormed past the Japanese pair 21-19, 25-27, 21-15 in 82 minutes.
China’s badminton superstar Lin Dan then regained his form after struggling earlier this week to overcome Japan’s Takuma Ueda with a 21-18, 21-8 win.
“I’ve made enough preparation for the match, and I will try to bring Thomas Cup back to China,” said Lin Dan.
For the Group D Thomas Cup tie, Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen breezed past Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen 21-16, 21-13 before Mads Conrad-Petersen paired with Mads Pieler Kolding to beat Lee Sheng Mu and Tsai Chia Hsin 22-20, 21-9 and give Denmark a 2-0 lead.
Taiwan’s Hsu Jen Hao’s then pulled off an upset over Jan O Jorgensen with 13-21, 21-16, 21-19 in a marathon match which lasted 79 minutes.
It was Mathias Boe and Mathias Christiansen who claimed the victory for Denmark after a hard-fought 21-17, 19-21, 21-17 win against Wang Chi-Lin and Chen Hung Ling.
“We all knew how important it was to win this match and top the group,” said Christiansen. “It was about keeping our heads cool and we did that and managed to do well in the last few rallies.”
China will play Korea, while Denmark will take on Japan, Malaysia will face Taiwan, and Indonesia will clash with Hong Kong in the quarter-finals on Thursday.