Kuala Lumpur: South Korea made history on Saturdayby ending China`s 12-year stranglehold on the Uber Cup with a 3-1 victory that saw China`s world number one Wang Yihan
sensationally losing in straight sets.
The South Koreans were expected to buckle under the might
of a team that fired a massive 686 points in four ties,
finishing victors in every one of their 16 rubbers and winning
32 sets while conceding just one.
But the fans sensed an upset when Bae Seung Hee, ranked
16, out-battled, out-thought and outclassed Wang in the first
singles rubber and set the tone for five gruelling hours of
stunning badminton from the South Koreans.
Bae, who has been impeccable after losing in the group
stages, kept her cool to pip Wang 23-21 in a tense first set
before pressuring her opponent into a series of errors to seal
the rubber with a 21-11 win at Kuala Lumpur`s Putra Stadium.
Wang, crowned world player of the year Sunday, was
uncharacteristically indecisive at the net and on four
occasions let the shuttle fly over her head, expecting it to
go long only to see it land inside.
"The China team is so strong I didn`t have any pressure,"
said a jubilant Bae, who had played Wang twice and lost twice
before today. "I just wanted to play and enjoy the game. Maybe
that`s the reason I won."
The Uber Cup debutante had done her homework, analysing
Wang`s gameplay on video before the match. She said she
realised pushing the ball long would be her best chance of
"Wang Yihan made crucial mistakes over and over and her
defensive side was pretty raw," said Bae, who has come a long
way since losing all her matches in the qualifying rounds in
A dejected Wang said: "I was not playing at the very best
level today and my strategy wasn`t working, which allowed my
opponent to control the game.”
"I wanted to play more patiently but I was rushing which
is why I was making more and more unforced errors."
The record book favoured China, with South Korea unable
to beat them in five Uber Cup finals since 1988, and order
ought to have been restored by the world`s top doubles team,
Ma Jin and Wang Xiaoli.
But their opponents, Lee Hyo Jung and Kim Min Jung,
defied history and held their nerve in another thrilling
three-set rubber to win 18-21, 21-12, 21-15.
"They were thinking too much of winning and they
struggled up to the end," said Lee. "But starting from the
second game we just went with our momentum and everything went
smoothly for us."