Thu, May 15, 2008 - Page 20 News List

China thrash Thailand to reach semis

AFP , JAKARTA

Indonesia’s Adriyanti Firdasari stretches to make a return to Hong Kong’s Mong Kwan Yi during their Uber Cup quarter-final match in Jakarta yesterday. Firdasari won 21-7, 21-9.

PHOTO: AFP

Defending champions China thrashed Thailand as they powered into the Thomas Cup semi-finals yesterday, temporarily putting aside concern for victims of the earthquake back home.

They next face Malaysia, who dismissed Japan in commanding fashion.

Hosts Indonesia made the last four of the women’s Uber Cup, upsetting Hong Kong 3-0 in front of a vocal home crowd, and will next play Germany, who won their all-European blockbuster against Denmark by the same score.

World No. 1 Lin Dan opened the tie for China with a 21-15, 21-14 drubbing of Boonsak Ponsana.

The doubles pairing of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng proved a different class to Tesana Panvisavas and Nuttaphon Narkthong, winning 21-12, 21-17, before Bao Chunlai eased past Poompat Sapkulchananart 21-14, 21-11 to end Thai hopes.

Chinese team manager Li Yongbo said his squad have been affected by the earthquake in Sichuan Province that has claimed thousands of lives, but they kept their focus to beat Thailand.

“The whole team is very concerned and are determined to help out. They have all donated money and are watching what happens closely,” he said, adding that at least three of the Chinese squad are from Sichuan.

Li was keen to play down China’s chances of grabbing a third straight title, saying Indonesia were the team to beat.

“It doesn’t really matter who we play, we will always be prepared,” he said. “But I think China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Denmark are all very equal at the moment. I’d say though, that Indonesia are favorites because they have the home crowd support.”

Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei, the world No. 2 who will likely face Lin in the opening semi-final rubber tomorrow, helped his team brush aside Japan 3-0, overcoming Shoji Sato 21-10, 21-16. Koo Keat Kien and Choong Tan Fook made it 2-0 with victory over Shintaro Ikeda and Shuichi Sakamoto, with Wong Choong Han sealing Japan’s fate when he beat Kenichi Tago.

Japan were disappointed after a thrilling come-from-behind win against Denmark in the elimination round, but coach Park Joo Bong was content with what they had achieved.

“In the last few meetings, my players have demonstrated a lot of fighting spirit,” he said.

Hosts Indonesia, with the world No. 6 and world No. 7 on their team in Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Taufik Hidayat, took on a young England side later yesterday and barring a major upset should also make the semis.

They will play the winner of the other evening tie between the experienced Danes and a South Korean team that exploited the rules in the group rounds by deliberately losing matches.

Defending champions China continued their drive toward an 11th Uber Cup crown when they played the Netherlands later yesterday, with top-ranked Xie Xingfang spearheading the team.

The winner of that clash will play either Malaysia or South Korea in the semi-finals of the competition.

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