Japan outgunned Denmark to top Level 1 Group D after a nail-biting final group game at the Li-Ning BWF Sudirman Cup this afternoon.
China’s formidable line-up of champions overpowered Indonesia in the final round-robin game of Level 1 Group A. Ukraine got the better of Sri Lanka 4-1; New Zealand fought off Turkey 3-2 (both Level 3 Group A), and Russia overcame Sweden 3-2 (Level 2 Group A).
The Japan-Denmark tie see-sawed with Denmark taking the lead after the first and third matches, only for Japan to equalise. After Denmark’s Mixed Doubles pair of Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen had given them a 1-0 lead by beating Hirokatsu Hashimoto/Miyuki Maeda, recent India Open runner-up Kenichi Tago (featured image) played a superlative match to beat Jan O Jorgensen to help Japan to 1-1. Both Jorgensen and Tago saved three match points each before the Japanese won the Men’s Singles encounter 13-21 21-19 27-25.
Carsten Mogensen/Mathias Boe propelled Denmark to a 2-1 lead, defeating Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa 21-12 16-21 21-16 (Men’s Doubles), but Sayaka Takahashi pushed the tie to the fifth rubber by beating Line Kjaersfeldt 21-18 21-15 (Women’s Singles). Finally, Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi sealed the win for Japan with a 22-20 21-16 result over Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl in Women’s Doubles.
Indonesia were able to stretch China in the first two matches, but the eight-time champions survived both tests and then shut out their challengers in straight games in the remaining three rubbers.
In the Indonesia-China tie, Hendra Setiawan/Angga Pratama took the first game off Olympic champions Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, but Cai and Fu rebounded 16-21 21-15 21-15 (Men’s Doubles).
Similarly, Aprilia Yuswandari fancied a stunning upset as she grabbed the opening game from Olympic champion Li Xuerui (Women’s Singles), but Li (centre; above) stormed back, winning the second game 21-4 and sealing the match 13-21 21-4 21-11. World No. 2 Chen Long beat Tommy Sugiarto 21-17 21-11 in Men’s Singles.
In the remaining matches, Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli cruised past Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari 21-10 21-13 (Women’s Doubles), and Xu Chen/Ma Jin wrapped things up for China with a 21-13 21-7 verdict over Muhammad Rijal/Debby Susanto (Mixed Doubles).
* For Li-Ning BWF Sudirman Cup 2013 schedule and results, click here.