China cruised into their 14th straight Sudirman Cup final beating Korea with the kind of clinical efficiency that is their trademark.
Korea’s calculations before their semifinal tie would have pencilled in a possible Heo Kwanghee upset of Shi Yu Qi in the men’s singles, for Heo had enjoyed two impressive wins in his previous matches, while Shi had suffered reverses.
For a while it appeared that Heo was staying true to that script as he played a smart opening game to catch Shi time and again. Yet, Shi betrayed no sign of the pressure he was under, and calmly worked his way back; once he found his rhythm, the smashes homed in on the lines.
“I was really hoping to get this point. I had lost my last two matches but I wasn’t really upset because I did my best and I was playing well,” said Shi Yu Qi.
The men’s singles win consolidated China’s lead after they had, true to expectations, taken the opening mixed doubles through Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dong Ping with a measure of ease. Korea played an untested card as they fielded Shin Seungchan with Seo Seungjae – both of them were required to do double duty – while for the Chinese, Wang Yi Lyu was required to turn up later for his men’s doubles with Liu Cheng.
If Korea had hoped to surprise China with their choice of the mixed doubles combination, that didn’t come to pass, for Wang and Huang rattled off the points and gave China the lead in 44 minutes, 21-14 21-15.
With Heo Kwanghee too falling, Korea’s hopes were pinned on An Seyoung as she took on Chen Yu Fei. An enjoyed a strong start, but that was until Chen settled into her favourite pattern of errorless play and the precision winner. An, unable to force the pace, was drawn into that pattern and the game slipped inevitably from her grasp.
“She is quite a stable player, and I was quite impatient in the opening game. She could take advantage of my errors, but after the first game I could adjust myself and bring her to my style of play,” said Chen Yu Fei.
China were taken the distance in both their previous matches, but Chen said those results hadn’t affected the team in the semifinals.
“We are a team and we’ve worked hard together. Although we lost matches in our previous ties, we have trust in the team.”
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