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Defending champ South Korea survives scare

Updated: 2012-05-24 14:01

Defending champ South Korea survives scare

Chen Long of China returns a shuttlecock to Hafiz of Malaysia during the Thomas Cup quarter-finals in Wuhan, May 23, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]

WUHAN, China - Defending Uber Cup champions South Korea survived a scare of being eliminated out of the top four on Wednesday as China's mighty badminton armada continued their momentum by reaching the semifinals at Thomas and Uber Cup.

South Korea clinched their first ever Uber Cup title two years ago by beating China in the final, but they were made to work hard by Chinese Taipei this time in Wuhan in the quarter-finals before they won 3-2.

In the first four matches, South Korea and Chinese Taipei leveled at 2-all. Hye Youn-hwang, former Asian Games and All England bronze medalist, withstood the pressure to defeat Shih Han Hung 21-18, 25-23 to finish the marathon battle which lasted five hours and 40 minutes.

South Korea will face Japan in the semifinals as China continued stable performance, making a 3-0 clean sweep at both Thomas and Uber Cup.

The Chinese women's team, aiming to regain the Uber Cup, were too good for Germany. World No 6 Juliane Schenk's absence made Germany even fragile in front of China.

Victories from world No 1 Wang Yihan and No 2 Wang Xin put China 2-0 ahead. Women doubles world No 1 Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli held off the challenges from Carla Nelte/Isabel Herttrich to secure a semifinal berth for China, with a score of 21-10, 19-21 and 21-8.

In the Thomas Cup, Chinese men's team were also through to the semifinals by beating Malaysia. However, Malaysia made some impacts on China without world No 1 Lee Chong-wei, who suffered an ankle injury on Tuesday and had to rest for at least three weeks.

Lin Dan lost the opening set to Liew Daren. The four-time world champion then played confidently with the support of the home crowd, leading all the way in the following two sets to win the first match for China, 17-21, 21-9, 21-5.

Defending champ South Korea survives scare

Fu Haifeng (L) and Cai Yun plays during their Thomas Cup quarter-finals against Malaysia in Wuhan, May 23, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]

Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng and Chen Long met little resistance from their opponents in the next two matches as they both claimed victory in two sets.

China will meat Japan in the semifinals as Japan stopped Indonesia in another marathon match 3-2. It was the first time the traditional badminton powerhouse didn't make it to the semifinals.

Former Olympic gold medalists Taufik Hidayat and Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan apparently couldn't find their peak form, losing to Kenichi Tago and Noriyasu Hirata/Hirokatsu Hashimoto respectively.

Victories from Simon Santoso and Mohammad Ahsan/Alvent Yulianto Chandra leveled the aggregate score to 2-all, but Jatakuma Ueda clinched the winning point for Japan in the decisive fifth match.

Denmark experienced a bitter-sweet day as their men's team entered last four of the Thomas Cup by defeating Russia 3-0 and their women's team succumbed to Thailand 3-1 in the quarter-finals.


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