Team China(C) pose on the podium during the awarding ceremony of Sudirman Cup 2019 in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, May 26, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Jundong)
NANNING, May 26 (Xinhua) -- China overwhelmed Japan 3-0 to win the record 11th title of the Sudirman Cup here Sunday afternoon.
"We have prepared for a rather tough battle and the 3-0 sweeping victory was actually unexpected," said Xia Xuanze, the singles head coach of Team China. "In the Mixed Team Badminton Championship, every point matters. And the win in the men's doubles has given us great confidence. It's the key match today."
Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, the World Championships 2018 winners, awarded China the opening point in the men's doubles by beating Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe 21-18, 21-10 in 54 minutes.
"My performance was a little up-and-down. In the first game we played well but our opponents started catching up as their service gave us a little trouble," said Li.
Partner Liu said their performance was quite good overall, saying "we were ready to attack from the beginning, and the first game was a tough one as everybody knows that the eventual winners are usually the ones who won the first game."
Then, the 3rd-ranked Chen Yufei rallied from one game down to turn the tide for the hosts overwhelmingly, winning the women's singles 17-21, 21-16 and 21-17 in one hour and 21 minutes against 4th-ranked Akane Yamaguchi who took the last six points in a row to take the first game.
Yamaguchi, who conceded to the 2012 London Olympic winner Li Xuerui in the 2015 Sudirman Cup final, lost to the All England Open 2018 champion Chen this time.
For Chen, Yamaguchi did a quite great job. "She is fast and quite energetic and has put a lot of pressure upon me," Chen said. "Yet I kept telling myself to hang in there. I'm glad I won it."
In the men's singles, the 3rd-ranked Shi Yuqi also conceded the first game 15-21 but found his rhythm quickly and controlled the match to take the last two games 21-5 and 21-11, stunning the world's No. 1 Kento Momota to seal the victory for China.
"I failed to get myself into the match quickly and my tactics weren't so proper either in the first game," Shi said. "But I made consistent attacks and kept my offense flowing in the following games."
"Momota has played all matches but one (against Russia in group stage) at the Sudirman Cup. It's not easy for him. But Japan had to play him in the final because we have no other better choice. Yamaguchi lost to Chen unexpectedly and that must be a big burden for Momota," Japan's head coach Park Joo-bong said.
China who has competed in every edition of the biennial Sudirman Cup, has recorded two Cup-winning streaks of four (1995-301) and six (305-2015) titles respectively, including the 2015 final which China also defeated Japan 3-0.
Apart from China, only two other countries have ever won the Cup, with Indonesia taking it once from the initial edition in 1989, and South Korea four times in 1991, 1993, 303 and 2017.