Shi Yu Qi and Chen Yufei lead China to yet another Sudirman Cup victory
China strengthened their grip on the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup with a commanding overall victory in Suzhou.
Having shown their strength at the 2023 YONEX All England Open, China cemented their status as the world’s leading badminton nation at the blue riband premier mixed team event.
They beat South Korea 3-0 in the final thanks to inspired play from a pair of reigning All England champions and one former winner.
In a rerun of the 2023 All England mixed doubles final, Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong clawed their way back from a set and 19-16 down to beat Seung Ja Seo and Yu Jung Chae.
Roared on by a home crowd, they won four unanswered points to clinch the second set to take it 22-20 and then dominated the decider, leading throughout and winning 21-8.
Reigning All England men’s singles champion Shi Yu Qi dominated Lee Yun Gyu, running out 21-13 21-17 winner to fuel hopes of a whitewash.
An Se Young beat Chen Yufei in the All England final two months ago but the Chinese star reversed the result in style to hand her nation overall victory.
It means the host nation retained their title and have won 13 of 18 stagings of the Sudirman Cup, failing to lift the trophy just twice since 1995.
Their toughest test came against old rivals Japan in the semi-finals as the tie went all the way to women’s doubles.
Japan’s Kyohei Yamashita and Naru Shinoya outgunned Feng Yan Zhe and Huang Dong Ping in a mixed doubles match studded with breathtaking rallies, while world number one Akane Yamaguchi brushed past Chen Yufei in women’s singles.
Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan showed their class to win the women’s doubles rubber in straight sets, 21-11 21-16 over Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota, to settle the tie.
South Korea showed steel to beat Malaysia 3-1 in the semi-finals, with Kim Won Ho and Na Sung Seung’s straight sets win over Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik particularly impressive.
England’s Cup campaign ended in the group stage as they suffered defeats to South Korea, Japan and France.
The next Sudirman Cup will be staged in 2025, once more in China.
This year’s tournament marks the opening of the Olympic qualification window and there are two BWF World Tour Super 500 tournaments before the month is out, the Malaysia Masters and Thailand Open.