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(Credit: Badminton Photo)
China with number 13
Date: 5/21/2023 2:14 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
It was not the smoothest journey, nevertheless China lifted the 80 cm high trophy they have made their own, the Sudirman Cup, for the thirteenth time.
 
China began with Zheng Si Wei/ Huang Ya Qiong in the mixed doubles after sitting out the spectacular semifinal duel yesterday. 

It was neck and neck in the first game against Seo Seung Jae/ Chae Yu Jung, however, a late surge of three points from the two Korean left-handers secured the first game and a great start. 

Sensing the Chinese nerves, Seo/ Chae took an 11-6 lead at the break, and then were 19-16 up at the business end. Not being able to convert from these points has been a reoccurring theme this week, and the Chinese pair were able to steal back the game 22-20, saving a match point.

Demoralised by this, Seo/ Chae were not able to hold back the attack of Zheng/ Huang and lost the match 21-18, 20-22, 8-21. 

Solid Shi 
Shi Yu Qi has big shoes to fill in as China’s number one men’s singles player. Earlier in the week he was reminded of that with Chen Long’s presence at a retirement ceremony, a man retiring with Olympic and world golds. 

Today, Shi played another key role in retaining the Sudirman Cup, finishing his undefeated week with a win over Lee Yun Gyu, 21-13, 21-17. 

Chen with the winning point
It’s hard to find vulnerabilities in the Chinese team, especially when talking about the reigning Olympic women’s singles champion, Chen Yu Fei. However, Korea’s An Se Young came into today with a positive 3-0 record in 2023 against Chen. 

After an early six-point run, Chen was able to hold steady and take the opening game. Korean hope was rested on An’s shoulders, but she looked calm and stuck close to Chen in the second game, waiting for her moment to strike. 

It seemed like she had timed it to perfection when drawing level at 20-20 with the momentum behind her. However, Chen had other ideas and managed to keep her composure to win 21-16, 22-20. She turned and looked at her team charging towards her to celebrate in front of the home crowd once more.

Out of 18 Sudirman Cup tournaments, China have now won the 22-carat gold-plated solid silver trophy 13 from 15 finals.

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