Japan one win from first Sudirman Cup - but must beat China

Japan has never lifted the mixed-team world championship since it began in 1989.

Mayu Matsumoto (right) and Wakana Nagahara secured Japan's place in the Sudirman Cup final.   -  AFP

Japan will have to defy the home crowd and the weight of history if it is to win the Sudirman Cup against China on Sunday.

Japan has never lifted the mixed-team world championship since it began in 1989.

In contrast, the host has won it a record 10 times and goes into the final as the favourite despite Japan being the top seed in Nanning.

World number one Kento Momota, Japan's talisman, must beat second-ranked Shi Yuqi if Japan is to stand any chance.

Read: China reaches Sudirman Cup final with clinical display

Momota, 24, did just that in the final of the world championships, also in China, last year.

Japan on Saturday lost its opening match to Indonesia, in men's doubles, before winning 3-1 while China dismantled Thailand 3-0 to set up a meeting between badminton's two pre-eminent powers.

The usually cool Momota celebrated wildly, pumping his fists and bellowing after seeing off Anthony Ginting 21-17, 21-19 to put Japan up 2-1 in the semifinal tie.

The doubles pairing of Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara, the top-ranked women's duo in the world, sealed Japan's place in the final.

  Dugout videos