China beats Thailand to meet Japan in Asian Games badminton women’s team final

Chen Yufei (left) storms past Ratchanok Intanon in Asian Games semi-finals. (photo: AFP)
Chen Yufei (left) storms past Ratchanok Intanon in Asian Games semi-finals. (photo: AFP)

Jakarta: Badminton powerhouse, China, exacted revenge for their 2-3 loss to Thailand in the semi-final of Bangkok Uber Cup in May of 2018, thus missing the Uber Cup final for the first time in 34 years since its debut, by beating Thailand 3-0 in the 18th Asian Games team semi-finals in Jakarta on Tuesday.

In a rematch against Thailand’s World No. 4 Ratchanok Intanon, World No. 5 Chen Yufei of China raced to a 9-1 quick lead before taking the first set 21-14.

However, Intanon would not go down without a fight as she was able to force a decider to prevail in game two with 21-17.

In a similar situation as Uber Cup, where Intanon stormed back after dropping the first set, Chen led 11-7 at the interval. Although Intanon tried to narrow the gap by winning the next five points, Chen continued to add pressure on Intanon through aggressive attacks, which forced Intanon to make several unforced errors at the end of the match. Chen eventually was able to score the first point for China by winning 21-17 in the decider.

It was a tough fight for China in the women’s doubles match where former World No. 1 Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan survived a huge scared to take first set 22-20 against Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand before the Thai pair picked up the second set with 21-16. Nevertheless, the Chinese pair was in total control in the decider, seeing off Kititharakul/Prajongjai 21-14 in the third set to extend China’s lead to 2-0.

World No. 7 He Bingjiao who didn’t play for China in the Uber Cup semi-final, overcame Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand 21-17, 21-12 to secure the winning point and earned China a chance to bid for its sixth consecutive Asian Games title.

In the other women’s team semi-finals, Japan’s World No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi who has been subpar in recent tournaments, went down to Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung before her teammates Fukushima Yuki/Hirota Sayaka (women’s doubles), Okuhara Nozomi (women’s singles) and Matsutomo Misaki/Takahashi Ayaka (women’s doubles) stepped up to the plate to beat hosts Indonesia 3-1 under heated atmosphere in the Gelora Bung Karno Istora Stadium.


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