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Badminton Uber Cup qualifiers: Surprising Japan beats China
Despite resting their top star Lin Dan, China won the Thomas Cup Asian Zone qualifiers in Macau with a 3-0 victory over Japan. In the Thomas Cups semi-finals, China thrashed Indonesia 3-0 while Japan defeated a weakened Malaysian team. South Korea claimed the last ticket to the Thomas Cup Finals in Wuhan, China, from May 20-27 when they finished fifth at the Asian qualifiers in Macau on Sunday.
This result in the men competition was expected, but a surprise happened on Saturday, during the Uber Cup qualifiers (the World Team Championships for Women) when a determined Japan overcame the odds and a 2-0 deficit to stun China in the final of the Uber Cup qualifiers. Li Xuerui faced resistance by Sayaka Sato before eventually prevailing in a rubber-game 21-18, 12-21, 21-6, to give China a 1-0 lead. China went further ahead when Zhao Yunlei-Tian Qing were simply too good for Japan’s top doubles pairing of Mizuki Fujii-Reika Kakiiwa, winning 21-19, 21-15, in 50 minutes.
At that point, it seemed China’s decision not to bring their top singles players – Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian and Wang Xin as well as their dominant doubles partnership of Yu Yang-Wang Xiaoli – was going to be vindicated. The Japanese girls, however, had other ideas and fought back ferociously in the next three ties. Minatsu Mitani scored the winning point when she defeated former world champion Wang Lin 21-19, 21-14, to cap a memorable fight back for the five-time champions.
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