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Badminton: Suhandinata Cup - China-Korea in repeat final

2008-10-27 10:24:00

26 October 2008

It will be a repeat of the 2007 final when holders China take on Korea in the final of the Suhandinata Cup at the Shri Shiv Chhattrapati Sports City in Pune on Monday.

China took exactly one hour to demolish Malaysia in a lopsided semi-final while Korea had to dig deep into their reserves to carve out a 3-2 win over hosts India.

Malaysia will take on India for the bronze medal.

As stated by India coach Sanjiv Sachdeva on Friday, Korea’s strength was in the doubles and in the semi-finals, the Koreans proved Sachdeva’s words true.

Korea took the opening match, the mixed doubles in just 25 minutes with Kim Gi Jung-Eom Hye Won carving out a straight games win over Aditya Prakash-Prajakta Sawant 23-21, 21-16.

Things looked even worse for India when Saina Nehwal, the World No 11, dropped the first game in the women’s singles to Bae Joo Youn 14-21.

Fortunately for India, Saina recovered her composure in the second game to bring in the point for India. The Chinese Taipei Open champion took the next two games 21-15, 21-8.

Korea was soon back in front when the men’s doubles pair of Kim Gi Jung-Choi Young Woo made short work of Sai Praneeth-Pranav Chopra, 21-14, 21-19 but spurred on by a boisterous crowd, India levelled the score when R.M.V Gurusaidutt played a superb game and nerves of steel to triumph over Lee Keun Dong 14-21, 21-17, 21-18.

India’s joy, however, was shortlived as Korea came charging back in the women’s doubles, thanks to Eom Hye Won-Jung Kyung Eun, to put Korea in the final.

The Koreans beat Sikki Reddy-P.C. Thulasi 21-13, 21-9.

“We are disappointed to have lost but the team did really well to take the fight to the Koreans,” said India chief coach P. Gopichand.

“We have a very young team, even by junior standards, and as such, the performance thus far will hold us in good stead for the future.”

If the India-Korea tie was a thriller, the Malaysia-China tie was an anti-climax as Malaysia put up a meek fight to bow out 3-0.

In the 5th-8th classification matches, Thailand beat Indonesia 3-2 while Japan beat Hong Kong 3-0 and as such, will play each other on Monday for the 5th-6th spots. Indonesia will play Hong Kong for the 7th and 8th spots.

Singapore, after the high of finishing third last year, were given a rude shock when they were beaten by Canada 3-0 leaving the Southeast Asian team to play for the 11th and 12th positions. Singapore will take on France. In the 9th and 10th classification tie, Canada will play Chinese Taipei.

New Zealand finished 15th, a three-rung drop form their 12th position last year but showed that they were worthy of a higher finish.

“Last year, the draw was relatively in favour of us but this year, despite the 15th place finish, we showed that we are competitive,” said chief coach Tjitte Weistra.

“Some of the ties have been very close and with a little bit of luck, we could have easily been playing for the 9th-10th position.”

England finished 13th while Russia and Germany finished 14th and 16th respectively. Scotland finished 17th while Sri Lanka and Turkey took 18th and 19th place.

The play-off for the 20th and 21st position will take place between Estonia and the Czech Republic.

Twenty one teams competed in the team event with the individual tournament starting on Wednesday.

(Credit: BWF)