For the third edition in a row, Chinese women have proved their domination in the shuttle sport of their choice. They won in 2012 at Wuhan and followed that up with title victory at New Delhi in 2014. By winning the Uber Cup for the third time in a row at Kunshan on Saturday, the Chinese women have affirmed their superiority as the world’s top nation in women’s badminton. Olympic champion Li Xuerui gave the Chinese a great start by winning the first singles match against world no.7 Korean Sung Ji-hyun but Korea leveled the tie scores, soon afterwards by winning the doubles match. Wang Shixian made it 2-1 by defeating Kim Hyo-min and China completed the 3-1 championship victory, when their doubles team of Chen Qingchen and Tang Yuanting defeated Chang Ye-Na and Lee So-Hee in straight games. Of the 26 Uber Cup tournaments held since 1957, China have now emerged victorious for the 14th time.
China enjoyed the home advantage as the crowd never stopped rooting for them. The first match of the championship tie featured Olympic champion Li Xuerui playing against Korea’s world no.7 Sung Ji-Hyun. The Korean looked in great touch as she controlled the first game and won it 21-14. But world no.3 Li brushed off the early deficit and rallied strongly in the next two games. Li took the second 21-13 to force the decider and then carried the momentum into the third game. Li controlled the game from the start and led Sung Ji-Hyun into making error after error. Li’s range of drop shots, deft placements and superb smashes did not allow the Korean any chances in the decider. In the end, it looked an easy victory for the world no.3 Li at 14-21, 21-13, 21-10. In the next doubles match, Korean pair of Jung Kyung-Eun/Shin Seung-Chan leveled the tie score to 1-1 by beating China’s world no.4 combo of Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei in a 94-minute marathon. The Chinese pair started off well to take the first game 21-16 but the Koreas bounced back in the second game to win at 21-17. The third game went to the edges of thrill as both pairs fought hard. In the end, however, the Koreans prevailed to take the match at 16-21, 21-17, 25-23.
With the tie leveled at 1-1, Wang Shixian brought China back into the reckoning with a blistering show in the second singles match against Kim Hyo-Min. Wang was simply brilliant in both games as she made the Korean woman run all over the court. There was nothing the Korean could do against such a committed opponent as Wang, who ended with a comfortable 21-13, 21-12 victory. China went to the next doubles match with a 2-1 advantage and their 14th Uber Cup victory was brought about by their doubles team of Chen Qingchen/Tang Yuanting. The Chinese pair dominated the match from the start and with the entire stadium supporting them, they inflicted a 21-14, 21-16 defeat to their Korean counterparts Chang Ye-Na/Lee So-Hee.
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