China and Japan will face off in the semi-final of the 2017 Sudirman Cup after progressing through the quarter-finals on Friday—marking a rematch of the tournament's 2015 final.
China beat India 3-0, while Japan overcame Malaysia 3-1. In Group 2, Vietnam and New Zealand beat Singapore and Austria, respectively, 3-1, while Australia came from 2-1 down to beat Canada 3-2 and Scotland eased to a 3-0 victory over the USA.
Defending champions China entered the match as favourites and showed their class against India, but their opponents were able to cause them some problems in the mixed doubles through impressive pairing Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa.
They won the first game against world No. 2 partnership Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong before ultimately losing 16-21, 21-13, 21-16 in over an hour.
Srikanth Kidambi was unable to take a game off Chen Long but put in a valiant effort nonetheless in the men's singles, before China finished the job in the men's doubles as Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan swept past Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty 21-9, 21-11 in under half an hour.
The Badminton Association of India were pleased with their progression in the tournament despite their exit:
Per Dev Sukumar for the Sudirman Cup's official website, Chen praised Kidambi and called for a strong showing against Japan:
"My opponent was very good, and he strongly challenged me in the second game. We have to be our best tomorrow. The Japanese Men’s Singles players are quite young and have already got the opportunity to play at this level, so we have to be cautious. More than the pressure from outside, I will be putting pressure on myself to perform well."
Japan ensured they would meet China in a repeat of the 2015 final with a fairly comfortable win over Japan, the highlights of which can be seen here:
Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda got them off to a winning start in close contest in the men's doubles, eventually wearing down Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong 21-17, 16-21, 21-11 with their superior intensity and endurance.
Lee Chong Wei offered Malaysia a brief respite after Nozomi Okuhara beat Soniia Cheah in the women's singles, but Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi made short work of Vivian Hoo and Woon Khe Wei in the women's doubles to seal the victory.
South Korea and Thailand will face off in the other semi-final on Saturday.