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.