The 2013 BWF Sudirman Cup is the premier team badminton tournament of the year, and it has certainly lived up to its reputation—showcasing a slew of thrilling performances and matchups so far.
Held once every two years, the tournament brings together all of the top badminton players from around the world and gives nations a great chance to measure themselves against other countries—especially after the drama-filled affair that was the 2012 Olympics.
Scheduled to finish on May 26, there's still plenty of top badminton action ahead, but let's have a look at some of the best performances from the 2013 tournament.
China's Dominance Continues
Being the best team in the world, it was largely expected that China would dominate at the Sudirman Cup, but few expected them to get off to such a strong start.
They blanked India 5-0 in their opening series—dropping just one set en route to a strong victory—and then chalked up a similar score against Indonesia.
Even at this early stage of the tournament, they appear very tough to beat.
Chinese Taipei Stuns Malaysia, Trounces Germany
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the tournament thus far has been that of Chinese Taipei, who stunned Malaysia and then Germany to finish on top of Group 1C.
Moreover, they did it dropping just two matches—both of which came against Malaysia in their opening series.
The win over Malaysia was set up Lee Sheng Mu/Tsai Chia Hsin in the men's doubles who beat World No. 3 pairing Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong in straight sets.
They finished the group stages with a dominant 5-0 win over Germany, with the absence of Marc Zwiebler and Juliane Schenk noticeable for the European team, who simply weren't able to match the momentum and energy of the Chinese Taipei side.
They'll move through to the knockout rounds now full of confidence and belief.
Japan Edges Out Denmark in Thriller
Many expected Japan to finish on top of Group 1D at the Cup this year, but few expected it would come in the dramatic fashion that it did. After Japan and Denmark both cruised past Singapore, it would be their series that determined who finished on top of the group—and what a series it was indeed!
First, Denmark came from a set down to win the mixed doubles. Then Kenichi Tago stunned Jan O Jorgensen to level the series at 1-1—saving three match points en route to the win. Japan would then find themselves down 2-1 and on the brink of defeat after their men's doubles fell, but they were able to win both the women's singles and women's doubles to emerge with a thrilling 3-2 victory.
Women's singles star Sayaka Takahashi (who remains undefeated in the tournament so far) was the difference-maker for Japan here and will be pertinent to any title challenge in the knockout stages.
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