China defend crown, win 13th Uber Cup title
New Delhi: World number one Li Xuerui and All England champion Shixian Wang led badminton powerhouse China to their 13th Uber cup title as they defeated five-time champions Japan 3-1 in the finals of the prestigious tournament here on Saturday.
Defending champions China came up with a dominating performance as Li and Shixian won their singles matches in straight games, while Yunlei Zhao and Xiaoli Wang run through their opponents in the second doubles without much ado, to help their team retain the title.
It was always going to be an uphill task for Japan but they failed to even put up a fight against the overwhelming favourites, finishing runners-up for the second time.
Olympic champion Li spanked world no 12 Minatsu Mitani 21-15 21-5 in the first singles, while world no 2 Shixian brushed aside Sayaka Takahashi 21-16 21-12 after their doubles pair of Yixin Bao and Jinhua Tang went down to Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi 18-21 9-21 to give Japan a chance.
It was left to their second-best doubles pair of Yunlei Zhao and Xiaoli Wang to finish the job and they did it in style, defeating Miyuki Maeda and Reika Kakiiwa 21-16 21-6 in 37 minutes.
Once the tie was sealed in China`s favour, prize distribution followed as the Indian and Korean team walked onto the dais. Chief coach Pullela Gopichand led the way for the Indian team, which also had Saina Nehwal wrapped in the tri-colour.
The Koreans were the first to be handed the bronze medal, followed by India, who savoured their moment amid cheers and standing ovation from the spectators. BAI president Akhilesh Dasgupta handed the silver medals to the Japanese team.
Finally, China were handed over the trophy and gold medals by BWF President Poul-Erik Hoyer amid a bevy of photographers looking for a vantage point at the Siri Fort Complex.