China wins 10th Thomas Cup title after Japan scare; first since 2012
Chinese pair fights back from trailing 18-20 in the decider to beat the Japanese duo in a 70-minute encounter
Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen survived two match points before beating Keigo Sonoda and Yuta Watanabe 17-21, 21-19, 22-20 to give China their 10th Thomas Cup men’s badminton title with a 3-1 win over Japan on Sunday.
Li and Liu fought back from trailing 18-20 in the decider to beat the Japanese duo in a 70-minute encounter.
China last won the tournament in 2012.
Japan started in style when Kento Momota stamped his authority over Rio Olympic gold medallist Chen Long 21-9, 21-18, his second win over the fourth-ranked player after the Asian Championships final last month in Wuhan.
Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan put China back on track with a 21-10, 21-18 win over Takuto Inoue and Yuki Kaneko.
Third-ranked Shi Yuqi beat No 14 Kenta Nishimoto 21-12, 21-17 as China took the lead before Li and Liu sealed victory.
Japan reached both the Thomas and Uber Cups finals. Its women’s team beat Thailand 3-0 for their sixth Uber Cup win on Saturday.