South Korea yesterday stunned China to win the Sudirman Cup, coming from 2-1 down to clinch the final 3-2 on Australia’s Gold Coast and end their opponents’ 12-year stranglehold on the biennial mixed team international tournament.
Choi Sol-gyu and Chae Yoo-jung were mobbed by their teammates after combining for a 21-17, 21-13 victory over Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong in the mixed doubles to secure the victory, which gave the South Koreans their fourth title, a first since 2003.
China had won all five titles since then and looked set for an 11th overall when Olympic and world champion Chen Long earned a convincing 21-10, 21-10 victory over Jeon Hyeok-jin in the men’s singles to put China 2-1 up.
However, All England Open Badminton champions Chang Ye-na and Lee So-hee wrestled the tie back to level terms after winning a topsy-turvy women’s doubles rubber over teenagers Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan.
South Korea had opted to leave new men’s singles world No. 1 Son wan-ho out of the lineup for the final, but Choi, who had earlier lost the men’s doubles with Seo Seung-jae, and Chae delivered when it mattered.
Lu, who is 1.91m tall, had the height advantage, but Choi used his power from the back of the court to keep the shuttlecock down around Lu’s ankles.
The South Koreans were always ahead of the All England and Asian champions and wrapped up the first set in 25 minutes when Huang went wide.
It was the 23-year-old’s backhand that was again at fault on championship point when she could only parry into the net at the Gold Coast Sport and Leisure Centre.
Kamaru Usman put on a Fight Island masterclass yesterday to retain his UFC welterweight world title by grinding down a brave Jorge Masvidal in Abu Dhabi. “I’m at the top of the mountain and everyone’s looking at me,” said the 33-year-old Usman after scoring a unanimous points decision 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the three judges’ cards. The Nigerian-American Usman (17-1) looked the fresher fighter, with Masvidal (35-14) having taken the UFC251 headline bout at just six days’ notice when Brazil’s Gilbert Burns (19-3) tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to travel. The Las Vegas-based UFC pulled off a power-packed schedule with
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