: Champion China suffered the shock of conceding a point before emerging 3-1 winner over India at the Sudirman Cup on Thursday to set up a semifinal clash with South Korea.
South Korea squeezed through a nail-biting encounter with Malaysia 3-2.
Despite the one-sided scoreline, China did not have it entirely its own way.
The men's pairing of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng outclassed Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar 21-15, 21-14, but women's World No. 4 Saina Nehwal stunned a near-capacity crowd as she defeated Wang Xin 21-15, 21-11.
Despite Nehwal's heroics for India, China quickly recovered as superstar Lin Dan put his side ahead 2-1 with a 21-14, 21-14 win over P. Kashyap before the women's doubles pairing of Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang eased the host into the semifinals. The Chinese duo won 21-8, 21-13 over Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa.
“Nehwal posed a challenge to Wang Xin but Wang also made a lot of mistakes. Maybe we were not well prepared for this,” said China's head coach Li Yongbo.
Nehwal, the darling of Indian badminton, made a fantastic start against world No. 3 Wang and never looked back.
“China was a very tough tie for us and Wang Xin is obviously a very good player so I was expecting a tough fight. But I think the home pressure was too much, and I played pretty well today,” said Nehwal.
She said she had enjoyed silencing the home crowd. “I'm pretty good at that, I play very well and I beat most of the Chinese players. I don't fear them and I just want to play freely.”
Nehwal admitted getting the single point against the mighty Chinese made for a “satisfactory” night's work.
“At the same time, the team players will get a lot of confidence that we can do well, if not this time, then next time. We just need to go away and work harder for next time.”
The semifinals are on Saturday. In the other quarterfinals, to be played on Friday, Japan takes on Indonesia and Denmark plays Taiwan.
Keywords: Sudirman Cup