Chen Long in charge as China set up Japan Sudirman semi-final
The Olympic and world champion wins in straight games in his team’s 3-0 victory over India
Olympic and world champion Chen Long led China on Friday in a crushing win over India to set up a semi-final showdown with Japan at the BWF Sudirman Cup in Australia’s Gold Coast.
China, the defending champions, cruised to a 3-0 win over India, while Japan mastered Malaysia 3-1 in the other quarter-final.
India have not won a medal at the Sudirman Cup, but Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa did create some problems for world No 2 duo Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong in the opening mixed doubles match before China prevailed 16-21, 21-13, 21-16.
Rankireddy had the Chinese under pressure with his fierce smashes, giving Ponnappa the openings she needed to put away returns.
Lu and Huang struggled early to contain the Indians before they seized the initiative early in the second and maintained their lead.
“We had a good chance, we had the confidence that we could pull it off,” said Ponnappa.
“They’re very experienced, while we’re just starting off as a pair. Satwik has to get used to pressure situations.”
World champion Chen Long had a 4-0 career record going into his men’s singles match with Kidambi Srikanth and the quick-moving Chinese was invariably at the end of the flicks and half-smashes that Kidambi created.
Chen went on to give China a 2-0 advantage 21-16, 21-17 in 48 minutes.
“We have to be our best tomorrow,” Chen said. “The Japanese men’s singles players are quite young and have already got the opportunity to play at this level, so we have to be cautious.”
India’s men’s doubles pair were not up to the level required to trouble Olympic champions Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nanm, who powered to a 21-9, 21-11 win in just 29 minutes.
Japan’s victory over Malaysia followed the same pattern as in their group tie on Wednesday.
For Malaysia, everything hinged on their men’s doubles pair of Goh Shem and Tan Wee Kiong getting past Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda, given Japan’s superior women’s singles and women’s doubles.
The Japanese kept up their high-intensity style, and the energy-sapping rallies started to tell on the Malaysians in the third as they fell apart in the hour-long struggle 21-17, 16-21, 21-11.
Nozomi Okuhara was too strong for Soniia Cheah in the women’s singles winning 21-11, 21-9.
Lee Chong Wei delivered the men’s singles for Malaysia over Kenta Nishimoto (21-15 21-13), but Malaysia’s Vivian Hoo and Woon Khe Wei could not compete with Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in the women’s doubles losing 21-7, 21-14.
“We lost the Sudirman Cup final to China two years ago,” Takahashi said.
“They have won the Sudirman Cup six times in a row and we appreciate the opportunity to fight against them. It’s a big challenge in front of us.”