Asia Ch'ship: China downs Japan to clinch women's title

With the team scores tied two-all, the focus shifted to World No. 31 Bingjiao. And to the delight of her teammates, she showed great fighting spirit to come back from a 0-6 deficit in the first game to turn the tables on the World No. 16 Yui Hashimoto with a 21-18, 21-12.

Nozomi Okuhara (in picture) defeated Wang Shixian 17-21, 21-16, 21-15 in the opening match of the contest, to give Japan a 1-0 lead.   -  Nagara Gopal

The focus was on Wang Shixian, who is ranked highest in the Chinese contingent. But, it was He Bingjiao who clinched the decider to help the team edge out a fighting Japan 3-2 in the women’s final of the Badminton Asia team championship at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Sunday.

With the team scores tied two-all, the focus shifted to World No. 31 Bingjiao. And to the delight of her teammates, she showed great fighting spirit to come back from a 0-6 deficit in the first game to turn the tables on the World No. 16 Yui Hashimoto with a 21-18, 21-12 win to emerge the star performer and save a major embarrassment to the Chinese contingent here.

Like a true champion, Bingjiao raised the bar under pressure to come up with a superb combination of attack and defence. Apparently more organised at the net, the Chinese shuttler spoiled the Japanese party with some classy cross-court smashes and delectable drops at the net. To the dismay of Japanese camp, Hashimoto’s net game went awry when it mattered most.

Earlier, in the first singles, reigning BWF Super Series winner, Nozomi Okuhara came up with a classy display overcoming early setback to down the World No. 7 Wang Shixian 17-21, 21-16, 21-15 to give Japan the winning start.

Both started the contest on a dismal note dotted with erratic returns before Wang came up with some powerful smashes to pick the points at crucial stages of the game. There were quite a few unforced errors from the dimunitive Japanese shuttler and strangely she continued to have problem with her serve – often going out. Two faulty net dribbles saw Wang clinch the first game.

In the second game, World No. 8 Nozomi was a completely transformed player racing away to an 8-1 lead leaving the Chinese camp stunned. The half-smashes doing most of the damage for Wang as she struggled to reach them. Interestingly, even at 17-12, Nozomi served out twice to give a glimmer of hope for Wang to come back into the game. But, to her dismay, Nozomi switched gear to close out the second game and take the issue into the decider.

In the decider, Nozomi was again on top with better court coverage and moving with alacrity. Her ability to reach to the big smashes from Wang was too good and she finished a deserving winner for the simple reason that she was far more superior when it mattered most.

More disappointment was to follow for China as the doubles combination of Yin Luo and Qing Tian too lost.

But, things turned in China’s favour thanks to the brilliance of World No. 11 Sun Yu who knocked out a fighting, World No. 13 Sayaka Sato 22-20, 22-19 in the second singles to keep the contest alive.

And, to the delight of Chinese camp, the doubles duo of Luo Yu and Tang Yuanting 21-11, 21-10 emerged winner to extend the issue into the decider.

Result (finals):-

Women: China bt Japan 3-2 ( Wang Shixian lost to Nozomi Okuhara 21-17, 16-21, 15-21; Luo Ying & Tian Qing lost to Misaki Matsutomo & Takahashi Ayaka 12-21, 16-21; Sun Yu bt Sayaka Sato 22-20, 21-19; Luo Yu & Tang Yuanting bt Fukuman Naoka & Yonao Kurumi 21-11, 21-10; He Bingjiao bt Yui Hashimoto 21-18, 21-12).