Grind and sweat for it


Gruelling contest ahead: China’s Chen Yufei has to brace herself for the toughest match when she takes on Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi.

PETALING JAYA: Japan are standing in China’s way from winning their 15th Uber Cup Finals title.

On Friday, China exacted sweet revenge over Thailand by pulling off an easy 3-0 win at the Ceres Arena in Aarhus, Denmark, but they can’t expect an easy ride against the defending champions in the final.

At the last edition in Bangkok, Thailand, China were shocked 2-3 by the homesters in the semi-finals and the downfall started when their No. 1 player Chen Yufei lost the first point against a fired-up Ratchanok Intanon.

On Friday though, reigning Olympics champion Yufei won the rematch after taking only five points. The former world champion Ratchanok conceded a walkover when she was trailing 2-5 due to her nagging shoulder injury.

That really did the damage to the Thai team as Rawinda Prajongjai-Puttita Supajirakul and Pornpawee Chochuwong went down without a fight to their respective opponents – Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan and He Bingjiao respectively.

“It’s a pity that we didn’t play a good game for the fans but I hope for the best for her (Ratchanok),” said Chen Yufei.

Now that they have gone one step further than the previous outing, Yufei has to brace herself for the toughest match when she takes on Akane Yamaguchi.

Yamaguchi has a better head-to-head record, having won nine times, one better than her 23-year-old opponent.

However, Yamaguchi’s form in Aarhus is questionabl e if based on her easy 14-21, 7-21 defeat to An Se-young of South Korea in the semi-finals on Friday. Japan went on to beat South Korea 3-1 but the manner in which Yamaguchi lost has raised alarm.

Yamaguchi, who makes up for her short stature with fighting spirit, had been plagued by a lower back injury in 2019, and hopefully, the old injury has not returned to haunt her.

Japan’s strength had been affected following the absence of several doubles players but scratch pairs Yuki Fukushima-Mayu Matsumoto and Misaki Matsutomo-Nami Matsuyama have done well here so far.

On paper and current form, China are the favourites but one should never underestimate Japan.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In Badminton

Great Scot! Duo on a roll
Axelsen set to reclaim world No. 1 after winning Indonesian Open crown
Choong Hann: Aaron-Soh only have themselves to blame
Go-h for vintage show
Japan players on the rise thanks to Malaysian duo
Another singles title on the cards in Europe
Coach Flandi pleased with quality of Sze Fei and Izzuddin’s game despite defeat
Loss and gain
Ex-national shuttler Yogendran thrilled to start new career with BAM
Big win in Bali

Others Also Read


Vouchers