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Chinese shuttlers regain glory with Thomas Cup win

May 28, 2018

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BANGKOK: Shi Yuqi of China hits a return to Kenta Nishimoto of Japan during their Thomas Cup final on Sunday.—AP
BANGKOK: Shi Yuqi of China hits a return to Kenta Nishimoto of Japan during their Thomas Cup final on Sunday.—AP

BANGKOK: China’s men took home the Thomas Cup on Sunday, clawing back to beat Japan 3-1 and compensate for their early exit from the previous tournament in 2016.

China, which boasts some of the world’s best players, was the tournament favourite despite not having secured the championship since 2012.

Japan’s flashy left-hander Kento Momota stunned world number five Chen Long 21-9, 21-18, giving the underdog team crucial early momentum.

China’s deep bench rallied after the stunning loss, with world number three doubles pair Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan levelling the contest.

The 22-year-old singles star Shi Yuqi then stayed one step ahead of Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto, jumping in the air for a smash winner to reach a match point which Nishimoto then netted to give Yuqi a 21-12, 21-17 win.

Clinching the third and deciding match was the world number four doubles pair Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, who sprang back from a set down to achieve a nail-biting win over Keigo Sonoda and Yuta Watanabe 17-21, 21-19, 22-20.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2018