Badminton: China survive big scare from Japan to enter Sudirman Cup final against S. Korea

Chen Qingchen (right) and Jia Yifan (light) of China celebrate their victory in the women's doubles Sudirman Cup match against Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan at the Gold Coast Sports Centre on May 27, 2017.
Chen Qingchen (right) and Jia Yifan (light) of China celebrate their victory in the women's doubles Sudirman Cup match against Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan at the Gold Coast Sports Centre on May 27, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

GOLD COAST, Australia - Ten-time winners China scraped into the final of the Sudirman Cup world mixed-team badminton tournament after edging out Japan 3-2 on Saturday night.

Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino gave Japan a bright start by beating Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen in the mixed doubles 21-12, 14-21, 21-19.

But five-time world champion Lin Dan levelled the tie when he overcame Kenta Nishimoto 21-19, 21-16 in the men's singles, before men's doubles pair Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen gave China the lead when they beat Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda 23-21, 21-16.

Next, it was women's singles player Akane Yamaguchi's turn to put Japan on equal terms at 2-2 when she took out Sun Yu 21-17, 21-15.

It was left to Chen and women's doubles partner Jia Yifan to take China through when they prevailed against Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi 21-12, 21-19.

The semi-final was a repeat of the final two years ago in Dongguan that the hosts won 3-0.

China meet three-time champions South Korea, who beat Thailand 3-1 on Saturday afternoon to enter the final for the eighth time.

The South-east Asians got off a great start in the mixed doubles, when Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai took just 41 minutes to overcome Choi Sol Gyu and Chae Yoo Jung 21-16, 21-12.

The Koreans levelled the tie when Son Wan Ho took out Suppanyu Avihingsanon 18-21, 21-10, 21-17 in the men's singles, before Choi and men's doubles partner Seo Seung Jae defeated Bodin Isara and Dechapol Puavaranukroh 21-13, 21-16 to give their team the lead.

Sung Ji Hyun then wrapped up proceedings by beating Ratchanok Intanon 21-13, 21-17 in the women's singles.

Despite the loss, the unfancied Thais, who upset second seeds Denmark 3-2 in the quarter-finals, matched their best-ever position of semi-finalists in 2013 in Kuala Lumpur.