Nanning: The long and turbulent relationship between Japan and China will now be extended to the badminton court as both nations will take on each other in the Sudirman Cup final on Sunday. In addition, the stage is set for something more than just a competition, where the rising powers Japan is threatening to displace the traditional badminton powerhouse China for the sport of badminton.
In Saturday’s semi-final clash between Japan and Indonesia, Japan was off to a slow start when its World No. 2 men’s doubles pair Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda went down to World No. 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 14-21, 18-21 in 42 minutes.
Akane Yamaguchi was then handed the task of taming former World Junior Champion Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. In the 33-minute women’s singles match, Tunjung showed some spark but never really came close to overcoming the supremacy of the World No. 4 Yamaguchi, as the Japanese wrapping up the match with 21-13, 21-13.
Although World No. 1 men’s singles player Kento Momota wasn’t getting much support from Chinese crowd at the Guangxi Sports Center Gymnasium, Nanning, China, he was ruthless in attack but also played a strong defensive game to edge Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 21-17 in the first game before giving Japan a 2-1 lead by overcoming Ginting 21-19 in the second set.
“Ginting played an aggressive match. I was a little conservative at the beginning, I started to attack more towards the end and fortunately the strategy works,” said Momota.
“In regards to tomorrow’s final, I am very familiar with Chen Long’s playing style. It going to be very difficult and will required patience to break through his game. If I am going to face Shi Yuqi, it will be the same as today where I’ll need to play better defensively,” added Momota.
Japan’s World No. 1 Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara sealed the tie for Japan when they saw off World No. 5 Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu 21-15, 21-17 in 51 minutes.
Meanwhile, the ten-times winner China overwhelmed Thailand 3-0 to qualify for the final on Saturday.