China’s men’s badminton team fell short of expectations in an epic Thomas Cup battle against Denmark here on Thursday, which lasted more than six hours and ended past 3 a.m. local time.
The 3-2 result in favor of Denmark means that China will have to face defending champions Indonesia for a spot in the semifinals.
In a match that decides the group winner, China’s Lu Guangzu mounted a brave challenge against world No.1 Viktor Axelsen in the opening singles, taking the first set but went down quickly in the remaining two to lose 17-21, 21-10, 21-9.
Liu Yuchen/Ou Xuanyi tied the score for China by beating Kim Astrup Sorensen/Mathias Christiansen in straight sets before Li Shifeng came back from behind to upset world No. 3 Anders Antonsen to put China 2-1 ahead.
The Danish pair Anders Skaarup Rasmussen/Frederik Sogaard then defeated He Jiting/Zhou Haodong 2-0 to tie the score again.
In the deciding third singles match, Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus overcame Weng Hongyang 2-1 in another thriller, ending the match 3-2 in Denmark’s favor which lasted more than six hours, reports Xinhua.
China was then drawn to face Indonesia in the quarterfinals for a rematch of the Thomas Cup final last year, in which Indonesia swept China to claim the trophy.