China Knocks out Denmark in Thomas Cup

China claimed a 3-2 victory over Denmark thanks to their excellent singles players in a Group A tie at the Thomas Cup World Team Badminton Championship here on Saturday.

With three points to be won in each match, men's singles was the key to China's win. The host country sent a mixed team of old and young, all perching atop the world rankings.

Asian champion Xia Xuanze dismissed Kenneth Jonassen 8-6, 2-7, 7-1, 7-1 in first singles.

Chinese teenagers Bao Chunlai and Lin Dan, ranked second and third respectively in the world, secured the victory over the Danes including the newly-crowned European champion Peter Rasmussen.

The sell-out local fans were breathless and all eyes were on Lin Dan, Korean Open winner, after Martin Lundgaard Hansen/Jens Eriksen and Jonas Rasmussen/Lars Paaske revived Danish hopes by leveling 2-2 against the host team.

In the decisive match, Lin denied jump smashes from Rasmussen, former world champion who returned to international competition this year, winning 7-1, 7-3, 1-7, 7-2.

China's head coach Li Yongbo said: "We have achieved our goal by winning all the singles. But I like a score of 4-1 rather than 3-2.

"I am satisfied with our singles shuttlers, especially youngsters Bao and Lin, who overcame the nerves and pressure. They are the future of Chinese badminton.

"But at the same time I am disappointed with low-spirited doubles players. They should have scored more and held out longer with the Danes."

China will play South Korea, while Denmark, which had shocked the pre-meet favorite South Korea 3-2, faces Sweden in their last group tie.

In the day's other game, South Korea whitewashed Sweden 5-0.

People's Daily Online ---