Badminton: China survive Indonesia scare

Defending champions China had to dig deep to avoid a surprise defeat to Indonesia, winning 3-2 on Thursday in the quarter-finals of the Sudirman Cup.

Two days after whipping their arch rivals 5-0 in a group match, China, who have not lost a tie since falling 2-3 to South Korea in the 2003 final, were stunned by a determined and gallant Indonesian outfit.

But Chinese supremo Li Yongbo was unperturbed. China are eyeing their fifth consecutive win in the biennial event.

"We have won it for so many times -- eight times," the coach said.

"I don't mind if we lose it as long as my players show their determination and fighting spirit... Sometimes it's good for other teams to win it."

Indonesia's Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir gave the 1989 champions a dream start when they defeated the world number one mixed doubles pairing of Ma Jin and Xu Chen 21-18, 14-21, 21-16.

China's Chen Long, as expected, levelled the scores when he beat Tommy Sugiarto 21-11, 21-15. But then Rian Agung Saputro and Angga Pratama edged Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng 19-21, 21-18, 21-15.

Coach Li blamed "a few bad line calls" for the men's doubles loss, saying he was "very disappointed with the umpiring".

Introducing technology to review disputed line-calls, as in tennis and football, is being tested at the cup, but it can't be used to challenge decisions yet.

"But I'm not going to take anything away from Indonesia... They have performed above expectation," Li said.

The Chinese women then turned on the power as Olympic champion Li Xuerui outclassed Lindaweni Fanetri 21-16, 21-13, and world champions Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli beat Liliyana Natsir and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari 21-12, 21-19.

Indonesian manager Rexy Mainaky said the team made a "tactical gamble" by fielding Natsir, a strong player, in the mixed and women's doubles.

"Nonetheless, I'm quite pleased with the way the team performed, and with a bit of luck, we could have won the tie," the former Olympic champion said.

Meanwhile, South Korea kept up their performance of reaching every Sudirman Cup semi-final when they outclassed Germany 3-0.

The three-time champions were simply too strong for the European champion with their mixed doubles pairing of Ko Sung-Hyun and Kim Ha-Na charting the way, followed by a hard fought men's singles match and then a men's doubles victory.

"We expected to win and march on, and we all did exactly what we were expected to do," said Lee Yong-Dae, who played in the men's doubles.

South Korea will now face either Japan or Thailand. The two teams are playing later Thursday as are Taiwan and Denmark in another quarter-final.

Germany coach Holger Hasse said the team was "disappointed" with the all-out defeat.

"I thought we could steal a point or two," he said.

str/jz/pj