South Korea beat China to end 12-year drought

BANGKOK • Sung Ji-hyun was part of South Korea's Uber Cup-winning team back in 2010.

Twelve years later, she led the Koreans back to the top of the podium as the team's coach.

South Korea yesterday stunned defending champions China to win the prestigious badminton team event for the second time in an epic battle that went down to the wire in Bangkok.

The holders were aiming for a 16th title in the women's team championship but with both teams deadlocked at 2-2, it all boiled down to the third singles between China's 15th-ranked Wang Zhiyi and 46th-ranked Sim Yu-jin.

Sim, who turned 23 on Friday, sprang an upset by beating Wang 28-26, 18-21, 21-8.

It was a hugely disappointing conclusion for China, who had jumped out to an early lead in the tie when Chen Yufei sealed a spectacular come-from-behind win against An Se-young in a marathon match full of drama.

World No. 3 and Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Chen went down 21-17 in the opening game to her fourth-ranked opponent.

An built a five-point lead early in the second game but Chen roared back to take that game 21-15 and sealed the decider 22-20 despite suffering an injury scare to her ankle.

An suffered from cramp and both players collapsed on the court in exhaustion after 91 minutes of gruelling action.

A disappointed and emotional An, who triumphed over top-ranked Japanese star Akane Yamaguchi a day earlier, admitted she was worried she had let down her teammates.

"I tried my best, as much as I could... I was at 20 points but then I lost control," she said of her failure to capitalise on three match points.

However, Lee So-hee and Shin Seung-chan beat China's Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan 12-21, 21-18, 21-18 and Kim Hye-jeong and Kong Hee-yong edged past Huang Dongping and Li Wenmei 22-20, 21-17 to offset Kim Ga-eun's 21-12, 21-13 loss to He Bingjiao, before Sim's deciding victory.

Indonesia, the 14-time winners, play first-time finalists India in today's Thomas Cup final, the men's team championship, also in the Thai capital.

H.S. Prannoy overcame an injury scare to secure the vital point as the Indians shocked Denmark 3-2 on Friday.

World champion and world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen made short work of Lakshya Sen, winning 21-13, 21-13.

But Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty beat Kim Astrup and Mathias Christiansen 21-18, 21-23, 22-20 and Kidambi Srikanth defeated world No. 3 Anders Antonsen 21-18, 12-21, 21-15 for a 2-1 lead.

Anders Skaarup Rasmussen and Frederik Sogaard pulled the Danes level with a 21-14, 21-13 win over Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala, leaving Prannoy to clinch the deciding match despite playing with a hurt ankle.



Thomas Cup final: Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch205, 2pm

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2022, with the headline South Korea beat China to end 12-year drought. Subscribe