China Nails down South Korea 4-1 at Thomas Cup

China Nails down South Korea 4-1 at Thomas Cup
In a life-and-death match which could decide the fate of three countries, China held off a strong challenge from South Korea with a 4-1 victory in their last group match at the Thomas Cup World Team Badminton Championships Tuesday in Guangzhou.

The Korean found it was hard to play against the hosts in front of a packed stadium when their dream of winning the first ever Thomas Cup was faded by the local favorites.

With a mixed line-up of experience and youth, China earned their ticket to the semi-final thanks to Xia Xuanze, Lin Dan and reconstructed doubles Zhang Wei/Chen Qiqiu.

Xia, world number one, had a good start by breezing past newly- crowned All Japan champion Lee Hyun II in three games by 7-5, 7-1, 7-5 with his speed, precise net plays and powerful jump smashings of all court.

Korean Open winner Lin Dan won a hard fight over Shon Seung Mo 7-5, 7-2, 7-2, which had many seesaw of the services from the beginning till the end.

The Koreans held high hopes on their strong tradition doubles which were also re-arranged by taking apart former world champions Kim Dong Moon/Ha Tae Kwan with second doubles Lee Dong Soo/Yoo Yong Sung.

The new pair Kim Dong Moon/Yoo Yong Sun prevailed in the third match 3-0 but Ha Tae Kwon/Lee Dong Soo met troubles with Zhang Wei/ Chen Qiqiu who secured the victory for the host, winning a surprised 7-3, 4-7, 7-3, 7-1.

Zhang said after the decisive match: "It was the first time that Chen and I played together in a match. That was why we played more relaxed and confident against the Korean rivals."

Coming back as a coveted national champion last November, veteran Luo Yigang showed his consistency with a comfortable 7-4, 7-4, 7-2 over Jang Young Soo.

Li Yongbo, head coach of China, said:"We knew that we could win the match against South Korea. We have never lost to them before and so did we tonight."

China now heads into the semi-finals as the group leader with Denmark finishing second.

About the Thomas Cup
Officially known as 'The International Badminton Championship Challenge Cup', the beautiful silver-gilt trophy is usually referred to by its more familiar title of 'The Thomas Cup'. Manufactured in London in 1939, the Cup stands 28 inches high and has a span, including the handles, of 16 inches. It comprises a plinth, cup and lid, the latter being surmounted by a figure of a player. Engraved on the front of the Cup are the words 'The International Badminton Championship Challenge Cup presented to the International Badminton Federation by Sir George Thomas, Bart., 1939'. >>details

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