China stage epic comeback to set up Sudirman Cup final against South Korea

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-05-21 08:02
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Liu Yuchen and Ou Xuanyi (left) of China celebrate after the men's doubles match against Hoki Takuro and Kobayashi Yugo of Japan during the semifinal match between China and Japan at BWF Sudirman Cup in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province, May 20, 2023. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao/]

SUZHOU, China - Hosts China suffered a huge scare before rallying past Japan 3-2 to reach the final of the Sudirman Cup here on Saturday.

Liu Yuchen and Ou Xuanyi saved China from the brink of defeat as the men's doubles pair clinched a crucial tie when Japan led 2-1 and had four match points in hand.

China lost their opening tie as Feng Yanzhe and Huang Dongping were stunned by Japan's Kyohei Yamashita and Naru Shinoya in a 106-minute thriller.

The Chinese mixed doubles pair was upset 26-24 in the first set but clawed back 21-18 in the second. In the decider, however, Feng and Huang missed two match points to lose 24-22.

"We were actually leading all the way in the latter part of the third set, and I had a lot of chances but we dropped it. I think I should have been a bit more patient," said Feng.

Shi Yuqi recovered from one set down to beat Kodai Naraoka 13-21, 21-15, 12-17 in the men's singles and made it 1-1 before Olympic women's singles champion Chen Yufei lost to Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.

Liu and Ou became the key men today. The young pair lost their first set 21-17 before claiming the second 21-19. Japan's Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi showed strength to lead 20-16 in the third set but were turned back by Liu and Ou 22-20 when Japan were one step away from the final.

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