Sun, 05 Dec 2021

AARHUS, Denmark, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- China stayed on track to defend their Thomas Cup title by dominating Thailand 3-0 in the quarterfinals at the Ceres Arena on Friday.

World No. 10 Shi Yuqi started the rout with a straightforward 21-14, 21-17 win over 23-year-old Kantaphon Wangcharoen in the singles' opener.

Having previously been defeated by Thailand's No. 2 singles shuttler Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the Sudirman Cup, Shi came prepared to face both Vitidsarn and Thai No. 1 Wangcharoen.

China's games started early in the morning on two consecutive matchdays, and Shi noted that she had felt sleepy after two early starts.

"I feel a bit tired, but as a professional player, I need to adjust to the time schedule, day or night, and motivate myself to play the best. Winning the opener gives my teammates more confidence in the following matches," said the 25-year-old.

After Shi's win, He Jiting and Zhou Haodong smashed Supak Jomkoh and Kittinupong Kedren 21-10, 21-18 in straight sets. 23-year-old He, paired with Tan Qiang, had lost against the Thai duo in the Sudirman Cup.

"We're playing much better than yesterday [against India]. Vitidsarn is a strong opponent in the third match-up, so it's a perfect scenario that we lead 2-0," said Zhou.

"It seemed we were trapped in the last match against the Indian pair. The coach did lots of analysis for us," said He. "The loss in the Sudirman Cup is still in my head and I believe I've found the right tactics to fight them."

21-year-old Li Shifeng then claimed an exciting 21-13, 17-21, 21-7 win over Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the third match, sending China into the semifinal.

Li had played against Vitidsarn many times between 2017 and 2019, but had never defeated the Thai talent in those encounters. He called this victory "a successful achievement" in his post-match interview with Xinhua.

"I think he is under greater pressure than me because China had led 2-0 before our match," said Li, "The coach told me to forget the records of previous match-ups. The team event is very different from the individual one. Everything is possible if we fight hard. All I was thinking was to have a good fight with him."

China's semifinal opponent on Saturday is Japan, who edged South Korea 3-2 in Friday's other quarterfinal.

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