China kept world champion Lin Dan on the sidelines as they cruised into the quarter-finals of the Badminton World Federation’s Thomas Cup in New Delhi on Monday, soon after their women’s side also made the grade in the Uber Cup.
China, who are aiming for a record sixth successive title in badminton’s premier men’s team championship, demolished Russia 5-0 to record their second win in Group D.
Lin, who played the third singles in the men’s 5-0 rout of France on Sunday, made way for Tian Houwei, who whipped Anatoliy Yartsev in straight games to fashion his side’s easy win.
Meanwhile, China’s female squad bolstered their bid for an eighth Uber Cup title in the past nine editions of the event since 1998 with a 5-0 drubbing of England.
It was the second successive win for the favorites, who boast the world’s top three women players and crushed Russia by a similar margin on Sunday.
Also in Group D, Thomas Cup debutants France came from behind to stun Taiwan 3-2 and keep alive their hopes of gaining a quarter-finals spot behind China.
Taiwan were leading 2-1 when Thomas Rouxel drew level with a thrilling 20-22, 21-19, 21-19 win over Kuei Chun-shih.
Brice Leverdez and Lucas Corvee then sealed the win for France by beating Tsai Chia-hsin and Lee Sheng-mu 14-21, 21-13, 21-14.
France had to defeat Russia yesterday to qualify for the quarter-finals, provided that Taiwan did not upset the mighty China.
Taiwan suffered a similar fate in the Uber Cup on Monday, after England stunned them 3-2 in Group W match contested without star player Tai Tzu-ying.
England will join China in the quarter-finals from Group W if they beat winless Russia in their last preliminary match today.
In Group C, South Korea — runners-up to China in the Thomas Cup final two years ago — and Malaysia booked the two quarter-final spots in the grouping.
The South Korean men’s side conceded the second and third singles to India, but won both the doubles ties after Son Wan-ho took the opening singles against K. Srikanth in three games.
Malaysia, who thrashed India 4-1 on Sunday, beat Germany by the same scoreline after world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei toyed with Marc Zwiebler 21-14, 21-8 in a dominant performance.
In Group A, former men’s champions Indonesia opened their campaign with a 5-0 demolition of Singapore, despite world No. 5 Tommy Sugiarto facing a tough three-game battle from Derek Wong in the opening singles.
Sugiarto won 21-11, 17-21, 21-15 after an hour-long struggle, but the Indonesians did not drop a game in the remaining four matches of the tie.
World No. 8 Boonsak Ponsana led Thailand to a 5-0 rout of Nigeria to stay on course for a quarter-final berth from group A alongside Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Indian and Thailand were to face off yesterday to determine who would be the top team to emerge from Group Y after both made it to the quarter-finals with their second wins.
India booked their quarters ticket by edging Hong Kong 4-1, while Thailand blanked Canada 5-0.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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