China win Badminton Asia Tong Yun Kai Cup Mixed Team title
China dethroned defending champions Japan 3-2 in a thrilling final to lift the Badminton Asia Tong Yun Kai Cup Mixed Team title at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wanchai, Hong Kong on Sunday.
The second-seeded Chinese, however, did not have it easy against the Japanese although they took a morale-boosting win in the mixed doubles through He Jiting-Du Yue.
The 12th ranked Chinese pair upset world No 3 Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino 21-17, 21-17 in 46 minutes.
Japan who won the inaugural title in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam in 2017 with a 3-0 win over South Korea in the final, however, was not undone by the setback.
Instead, Japan came back strongly to win the men's singles and the men's doubles for a 2-1 lead.
World No 15 Kanta Tsuneyama made it all square when he tamed 20th ranked Lu Guanzu 21-18, 21-7 in the men's singles to revive Japan's hopes.
The champions snatched the initiative for a 2-1 lead after winning the men's doubles through 28th ranked Yugo Kobayashi-Takuro Hoki who battled an hour in their comeback 16-21, 21-18, 21-13 win over 9th ranked Han Chengkai-Zhou.
However, China was not rattled and forced a 2-2 stalemate by winning the women's singles. Fourteenth-ranked Han Yue fought back from a one-game deficit to clinch a 17-21, 21-19, 21-17 win over Sayaka Takahashi in a marathon 71 minutes.
It was left for the women's doubles to decide the winners and China's Li Yinhui-Du Yue responded to the challenge to snuff out Japan's Ayako Sukaramoto-Yukiko Takahata 21-16, 21-19 in 54 minutes.
"We were the underdogs right from the start. To have reached the final with our back-up team is an achievement. I am proud of my players. They gave their best.
"It was a 50-50 battle and the final could have gone either way," said Japan team manager Park Joo Bong.
China beat Japan 3-2
He Jiting-Du Yue beat Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino 21-17, 21-17
Lu Guangzu lost to Kanta Tsuneyama 18-21, 7-21
Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong lost to Yugo Kobayashi-Takuro Hoki 21-16, 18-21, 13-21
Han Yue beat Sayaka Takahashi 17-21, 21-19, 21-17
Li Yinhui-Du Yue beat Ayako Sukaramoto-Yukiko Takahata 21-16, 21-19