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China beat Japan, win Uber Cup

New Delhi: China’s domination in women’s badminton continued on Saturday when they conquered Japan 3-1 in the Uber Cup final, at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here. This was China’s third title in a row and 13th overall.

India and Korea finished joint third and received the bronze medals. Japan, who fought hard to beat India 3-2 in the semi-finals on Friday, had no answer to China’s supremacy in the two singles.

However, their doubles pair of Misaki Matusomo and Ayaka Takahashi salvaged some pride by defeating formidable Yixin Bao and Jinhua Tang 21-18, 21-9.

Given the fact that the Chinese duo are the world’s second ranked pair, defeating them was a huge achievement for the Japanese doubles team. But that was all Japan could do in the best-of-five matches final.

The Chinese march started with world No. 1 and Olympic champion Li Xuerui getting the better of Japan’s Minatsu Mitani 21-15, 21-5 in the first singles. She looked little shaky at the start of the first game, but was in full control after taking an 11-10 lead. In the second game, she simply demolished her rival.

“I just played my own game… I didn’t think too much. I just focussed on my game and took it very seriously,” said Xuerui after the match. The world No. 1 said the men’s team defeat in the Thomas Cup semi-finals did not come as an extra motivation for her in the final.

After the Japanese doubles pair made it 1-1, China took the lead through Shixian Wang. Ranked second in the world, she made short work of Sayaka Takahashi, winning 21-16, 21-12 in 45 minutes. The victory was completed by Yunlei Zhao and Ziaoli Wang, who beat Miyuki Maeda and Reika Kakiiwa 21-13, 21-6 in 37 minutes in the second doubles.

Shixian said the unexpected ouster of the Chinese men’s team from the Thomas Cup added to the motivation of the women’s squad.