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(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
The Chinese gamble paid off
Date: 10/2/2021 1:24 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
The two most successful teams in Sudirman Cup history, China and Korea faced off in the first semifinal. China fielded a tactical line-up which, despite a few minor scares, went according to plan. 

The reigning and 11-time champions faced the four-time winners Korea and played to their strengths. In a clear attempt to win the game 3-0, China put Wang Yi Lyu in the men’s doubles with Liu Cheng. Wang, the mixed doubles specialist would therefore be certain to play first, followed by two singles matches – China was favourites in all three categories. The hope was to avoid a men’s doubles match, where Korea are strong. 

The Olympic champions Wang Yi Lyu/ Huang Dong Ping kicked things off against Seo Seungjae/ Shin Seungchan, a scratch pairing. There was a lot of tension on court, but they got the job done. With Wang Yi Lyu needing to rest and prepare for his potential men’s doubles outing, Huang was left to the media duties.

-If we lost are concentration even a little bit our opponent will sense this opportunity to win more points. They are playing very well today and we had to play perfectly. 

A game too far for Heo
Heo Kwanghee certainly got his money’s worth this week in Finland, with all of his matches going to three. Following his high-profile win against Kento Momota in Tokyo, wins over Weisskirchen, Chou and Vitidsarn backed up his good form. 

Heo got off to a strong start, winning the opening game 21-17, however, the court time this week was adding up and his legs were not able to carry him anymore. Shi was able to capitalise and fly to victory 21-9, 21-11. 

-If this was an individual tournament, I would have no chance if I lose a match. As it is a team event, it is great to play so many matches against top players to improve myself, Heo stated. 

-I am happy that I can now cheer for Chen Yu Fei. The Korean player she plays is very young and talented. It would be nice if she wins to prevent my teammate Wang Yi Lyu from having to play men's doubles and get so tired, Shi jested. 

Chen Yu Fei gets over the line
With China at 2-0, all was needed was a win from the Olympic champion, Chen Yu Fei. Much like in the previous match, Korea turned up the heat with An Seyoung taking the first game 21-14. However, Chen was able to control her excitement to secure the win for her country. 

-I saw the line but I got too impatient, and I needed to relax, said a relieved Chen, also stating that she would like to be part of Chinese history in winning a twelfth title. 

China once again find themselves in the final, awaiting the winner of the other semifinal between Japan and Malaysia. 

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