Badminton: Japan crush home side Thailand 3-0 to win first Uber Cup title since 1981

Japan's Nozomi Okuhara (centre) celebrates with teammates after defeating Thailand's Nitchaon Jindapol during their women’s singles final match at the Uber Cup in Bangkok on May 26, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

Japan coasted to their sixth Uber Cup women's team badminton championship and the first in 37 years on Saturday (May 26) in Bangkok, thrashing 3-0 an overwhelmed Thailand team who had performed way above themselves to reach the final.

None of the matches lasted more than 46 minutes, with Nozomi Okuhara, who ended the tournament undefeated in six matches, fittingly giving her top-seeded country the winning point after beating Nitchaon Jindapol 21-12, 21-9 in the second singles.

The home side, seeded fourth, needed Ratchanok Intanon to get off to a winning start for them to stand any chance of the title but she lost 21-15, 21-19 to Akane Yamaguchi.

Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota then beat Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Puttita Supajirakul 21-18, 21-12 to give Japan a commanding advantage.

Japan last won the title in 1981, before 14-time champions China joined the competition three years later.

China and South Korea were joint bronze medallists, with the former not featuring in the final for the first time ever. The hosts had upset China 3-2 in the semi-finals on Friday, while Japan beat South Korea 3-1.

On Sunday, the Japanese men's team, champions in 2014, will aim to complete a double when they take on a rejuvenated China, who have not reached the Thomas Cup final since winning in 2012 and even failed to make the semi-finals two years ago.

In the semi-finals on Friday, Japan dethroned defending champions Denmark 3-2, while China took out 13-time champions Indonesia 3-1.

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