Sudirman Cup: China secure quarter-final spot with hard-earned win against Thailand
- Defending champions fight back from 0-2 down to make it three wins from three in group stage
China edged past Thailand to make it three wins from three in the group stage of the Sudirman Cup on Wednesday and comfortably eased into the knockout stages. They were made to work hard for the win, though.
China got off to a slow start when the doubles pairing of He Jiting and Tan Qiang lost out in a come-from-behind win for Thailand’s Supak Jomkoh and Kittinupong Kedren 21-11, 8-21, 11-21.
“We could not find the solutions when we faced difficulties in the second set,” Tan said. “We tried to make a new start in the third, but couldn’t turn the tide.
“As the first pair in a team event, we felt more pressure than before. But made too many mistakes and errors of judgement today.”
The biggest shock in the match saw China’s Shi Yuqi, the world No 10, beaten by Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn, the first time the 20-year-old has beaten a top 10 rival.
“Yes, this is my biggest win,” Vitidsarn said. “I started with a basic game by defending and then pushed on with attack.
“There weren’t many tournaments before this, so I was able to work on my fitness and I feel I’m stronger now, so that’s helping my game.”
Shi was sanguine about the loss and paid tribute to his opponent.
“I played well today but Vitidsarn did a better job,” Shi said. “I didn’t know too much about him. We’re at the same level, anything can happen. He showed good quality defensively, flying to save points.”
At 0-2 down, it was China’s Olympic champion women who needed to turn the tide.
Tokyo gold-medallist Chen Yufei laid waste to Busanan Ongbamrungphan in a 21-12, 21-10 win, before the number two-ranked duo of Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan scored a comfortable 21-4, 21-12 win against Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai to even the match score.
It was left to Olympic champion mixed doubles pairing of Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping to secure the victory with a convincing 21-8, 21-15 win against the world number three combination of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachal.
The knockout stage in Vantaa, Finland gets underway on Friday with China, the defending champions, set to meet South Korea or Taiwan in the quarter-finals.