# Japan crush top seeds China 3-1 in semi-finals

# Korea reach final with 3-1 win over Thailand


By Rizal Abdullah

Japan crushed a favourites and top seeds China 3-1while Korea ousted Thailand by a similar margin in the semi-finals of the inaugural Robot Badminton Asia Mixed Team championhips in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Saturday.

The shock of the day was Japan’s humiliation of the mighty Chinese as the Great Wall crumbled despite taking a 1-0 lead through Zhang Nan-Chen Qingchen in the mixed doubles in a close fought encounter against Japan’s rookies Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino. The Chinese won 22-20, 21-19.

However, world No 60 Kenta Nishimoto swung the tie Japan’s way when he came back from a set down to upset world No 12 Shi Yuqi 10-21, 21-19, 21-17 in a 76 minute encounter.

Japan won the men’s doubles through Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda who registered a 21-16, 16-21, 21-16 win over Li Junhui-Zheng Siwei and World No 6 Akane Yamaguchi hammered China’s reigning junior world champion Chen Yufei 21-15, 21-10 for the winning point.

“We did not expect to beat China but our fighting spirit won the match. It is very satisfying to beat the great Chinese team,” said a happy Japan head coach Park Joo Bong.

“We won here but China is still a great badminton team with players like Chen Long and Tian Houwei.”

Meanwhile, Korea coach Kang Kyun Jin believes his team has a even chance of winning the title after Japan beat China in the semi-finals.

“We will go all out in the final. It will be a 50-50 affair but I would say we have a slight edge after China’s exit,” said Kyun-jin.

Thailand took the first point through Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai in the mixed doubles, defeating Korea’s Choi Solgyu-Kim Ha-na 21-18, 18-21, 21-15.

The Koreans won the men’s singles through Son Wan-ho to make it 1-1 after his 18-21, 21-7, 21-19 win over Suppanyu Avihingsanon and followed it up for a 2-1 lead through men’s doubles Kim Gi-jung-Yoo Yeon-seong and clinched the winner through Sung Ji-hyun in the wimen’s singles.

“We have an even chance of winning the title now…thanks to Japan who knocked out top seeds and favourites China,” said Kyung-jin after the win over Thailand.

“It will be a good and interesting final. Both teams have an even chance but with China out we would rate our chances just a good.”

Wan-ho beat Suppanyu 18-21, 21-7, 21-19 while Gi-jung-Yeon-seong won their doubles match against Nipitphon Phuangphuapet-Dechapol Puavaranukroh 23-21, 21-17 for a 2-1 lead.

Ju-hyun completed a her mission for Thailand with a 21-12, 21-14 win over Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the women’s singles. 



JAPAN    3         CHINA      1

(Japan first)

MS: Kenta Nishimoto beat Shi Yuqi 10-21m 21-19, 21-17

WS: Akane Yamaguchi beat Chen Yufei 21-15, 21-10

MD: Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda beat Li Junhui-Zheng Siwei 21-16, 16-21, 21-16

XD: Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino lost to Zhang Nan-Chen Qingchen 20-22, 19-21


KOREA  3        THAILAND   1

(Korea first)

MS: Son Wan-ho beat Suppanyu Avinhingsanon 18-21, 21-7, 21-19

WS: Sung Ji-hyun beat Busanan Ongbamrungphan 21-12, 21-14

MD: Kim Gi-jung-Yoo Yeon-seong beat 23-21, 21-17

XD: Choi Solgyu-Kim Ha-na lost to Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai 18-21, 21-18, 15-21

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