China dominates group play at Thomas and Uber Cup

The Chinese men and women's teams defeated their opponents handily in commanding 5-0 wins during the opening round of group play at the Thomas and Uber Cups on Sunday.

Li Xuerui played her part in her team's dominance with a straight-sets win.   -  Reuters

The Chinese men and women's teams defeated their opponents handily in commanding 5-0 wins during the opening round of group play at the Thomas and Uber Cups on Sunday, as they kicked off the world badminton team championships on home soil.

>Read: India loses to Thailand in Thomas Cup opener

In early Thomas Cup action, top-ranked shuttler Chen Long led the Chinese men's squad in a rout over Mexico with a dominating 21-12, 21-7 performance against Lino Munoz, while world number six Tian Houwei finished off Job Castillo 21-7, 21-12. In doubles action, Hong Wei and Zheng Siwei swept Lopez Andres and Luis Ramon Garrido 21-12, 21-15, and Li Junhui amd Liu Yuchen starched Munoz and Castillo, 21-3, 21-9, in 32 minutes flat.

"The Chinese are so fast. We learnt a lot," said Castillo, according to the Badminton World Federation. The nine-time Thomas Cup champions will face off next against France on Monday.

Xuerui and Yihan register wins

In Uber Cup competition, runaway favourite China swept Malaysia, thanks to stellar performances from world number three Li Xuerui and number four Wang Yihan, who dispatched their challengers in straight sets. Tang Yuanting and Yu Yang salvaged a win after dropping the second set against Malaysia's Vivian Hoo Kah Mun and Woon Khe Wei. They prevailed in the end, 21-18, 14-21, 21-11.

And China's Sun Yu rounded out the day's drubbing with a 21-9, 21-10 win over Malaysia's Sonia Cheah Su Ya.

China's men won the two-yearly Thomas Cup five times in a row until their shock loss to Japan in 2014, while their women have collected eight of the last nine titles in the concurrent Uber Cup. In earlier play, the Thai men's team faced steady competition from India but prevailed 3-2. On the women's side, star shuttler Ratchanok Intanon led the Thais to a 4-1 win over Hong Kong.

Both competitions feature 16 teams divided into four groups, with the top two in each qualifying for the quarterfinals.

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