China Storm to Third Straight Thomas Cup Title
China once again dominated the opposition to win the Thomas Cup men's team tournament title for the third time in a row after their 3-1 victory over South Korea in the final.
|It was a double celebration for the Chinese squad after their all-conquering women's team won the Uber Cup, beating Indonesia 3-0 in the final. |
The men's defending champions and top seeds suffered a few minor hiccups on the road to victory but they had too much strength in depth for their rivals at the end of the day.
World number one Lin Dan set China on the victory path with a hard-fought 10-21, 21-18, 21-8 victory over Korean Park Sung-hwan.
The Koreans' ace doubles pair of Jung Jae-sung and Lee Yong-dae levelled the tie with a 24-23, 21-16 victory over China's Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, grasping the momentum after a tight first game.
However, world number three Bao Chunlai scored a crucial 28-26, 21-11 win over Lee Hyun-il to restore China's lead. Bao's victory was significant to China's overall triumph as he recovered from numerous game points in the first game.
Lee, who had exhausted himself in the first game, was swept away by Bao in the second game and South Korea were never able to recover.
Xie Zhongbo and Gus Zhendong sealed the victory for the Chinese by beating Lee Jae-jin and Hwang Ji-man 21-12 19-21 21-12.
Bao admitted that his victory was the turning point of the match.
"I had expected the match to be close. I'm glad I was able to sustain my game," he said.
South Korean manager Kim Jong-soo, a former top-ranked doubles player, knew his side faced an uphill battle against China and was happy with their overall performance.
He said: "We played well. I guess China was a better team today. Our players made their best efforts. I'm just happy we made it to the final."
It was the first time South Korea had reached the final of the world's most prestigious team tournament, upsetting hosts Indonesia in the semi-final after beating Denmark in the last eight.
China had a tougher path to the final, having to overcome a tenacious Malaysian side 3-2 in the semi-finals.
Before the final, the teams stood for a minute's silence in memory of the people who lost their lives in the earthquake that struck the Chinese province of Sichuan.
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