Nanning: Hosts China closed in on an 11th Sudirman Cup title as they ruthlessly dismantled Thailand to reach Sunday’s final of the mixed-team badminton world championship. China’s comfortable 3-0 victory sets them up for a tournament decider against top seeds Japan or Indonesia, who play their semi-final later on Saturday. China went 2-0 ahead in just 94 minutes thanks to their world number one mixed doubles pair Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong, and second-ranked Shi Yuqi in the men’s singles. The tie was over when the men’s doubles world champions Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen triumphed.
Shi did not have it all his own way against 18th-ranked Kantaphon Wangcharoen, who squandered three opportunities to clinch the second game and force a decider. It was a turning point and Shi held his nerve before closing out victory 21-15, 26-24 to thrill the home crowd and snuff out the brief Thai resistance. “It was a very tough second game,” said Shi, beaten in last year’s world championship final by Kento Momota. The top two in men’s badminton will meet once more on Sunday if, as expected, Japan beat Indonesia. “The lead changed hands many times and neither of us could open up a big lead,” added Shi, who has inherited the mantle of China’s top men’s player with Lin Dan approaching retirement. “In the end I managed to overcome the pressure.”