China, Japan, Korea and Indonesia in semis in women's Badminton Asia Team Championships
Defending champions China were made to slog by Thailand before carving out a 3-1 win to reach the semi-finals in the women's E-Plus Badminton Asia Team Championships at the Sultan Abdul Hamid Stadium in Alor Setar, Malaysia on Friday.
Three of the matches went beyond the hour mark before the Chinese could win their matches and all three were decided over three games.
World No 8 Chen Yufei came back from a game down before she prevailed over 12th ranked Nitchaon Jindapol 19-21, 21-14, 21-14 in 65 minutes.
The first doubles was the only match that was decided in straight games with Dong Wenjing-Feng Xueying getting the better of their Thai opponents Chayanit Chaladchalam-Phataimas Muenwong in 21-16, 23-21.
The second singles between world No 9 Chen Yufei, a former world junior champion, and world No 25 Pornpawee Chochuwong, was the longest before the Thai notched a 13-21, 21-18, 23-25 victory in an energy sapping 76 minutes.
There was hope for Thailand but Savitree Amitrapai-Pacharapun Chochuwong could not make it count in the second doubles against Cao Tong Wei-Yu Zheng with the Chinese pair clinching the tie 19-21, 21-19, 21-14 in 64 minutes.
Japan, runners-up at the last championships in Hyderabad, India in 2016 were easy 3-0 winners over Chinese Taipei with world No 2 Akane Yamaguchi starting the rout with a 21-9, 21-12 win over Pai Yu Po.
Rio Olympics gold medallists Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi sealed a 21-13, 21-14 win over Hsu Ya-ching-Wu Ti-jing in the first singles before Nozomi Okuhara, ranked No 7, beat Lee Chia-hsin 21-17, 21-19 in the second singles.
Hosts Malaysia were outplayed by South Korea, ranked second in the world, 3-0. The Koreans started the onslaught through sixth ranked Sung Ji-hyun who beat Malaysia's number one and 27th ranked Soniia Cheah 21-13, 21-10.
Lee So-hee-Shin Seung-chan made it 2-0 for Korea with a 21-10, 21-15 win over scratch pair Vivian Hoo-Tee Jing Yi before former world junior champion Goh Jin Wei fighting a three-game battle in vain to keep Malaysia in the hunt against Lee Jang-mi.
The 17th ranked Korean beat the 30th ranked Malaysian 17-21, 21-11, 21-13 and it was all over for the hosts.
Indonesia recovered from losing the opening singles to beat India 3-1. P.V. Sindhu, the lanky Indian who won the 2016 Rio Olympics silver and also at the World Championships in Glasgow last year, beat Indonesia's Fitriani Fitriani 21-13, 24-22 in the first singles.
However, world No 7 Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu made it all square for Indonesia with a 21-5, 21-16 win over Ashwini Ponnappa-N. Sukki Reddy in the first doubles.
It was plain sailing for the Indonesians after this with Hanna Ramadini winning the second singles against Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli 21-8, 21-5 and Anggia Shitta Awanda-Ni Ketut Mahadewi Istarani wrapped up the tie with a 21-9, 21-18 win over Sanyogita Ghorpade-Pv.V. Sindhu in the second doubles.
Despite their defeats Chinese Taipei, India and Malaysia booked their places in the Uber Cup Finals through their world rankings. Chinese Taipei are ranked sixth, India eighth and Malaysia ninth.
The Uber Cup Finals will be played at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand from May 20-27. The semi-finalists in the Asian Team Championships gain and automatic berth in the Uber Cup Finals.
Japan beat Chinese Taipei 3-1
WS1: Akane Yamaguchi beat Pai Yu Po 21-9, 21-12
WD1: Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi beat Hsu Ya-ching-Wu Ti Jung 21-13, 21-14
WS2: Nozomi Okuhara beat Lee Chia-hsin 21-17, 21-19
South Korea beat Malaysia
WS1: Sung Ji-hyun beat Soniia Cheah 21-13, 21-10
WD1: Lee So-hee-Shin Seung-chan beat Vivian Hoo-Tee Jing Yi 21-10, 21-15
WS2: Lee Jang-mi beat Goh Jin Wei 17-21, 21-11, 21-13
China beat Thailand 3-1
WS1: Chen Yufei beat Nitchaon Jindapol 19-21, 21-14, 21-14
WD1: Dong Wenjing-Feng Xueying beat Chayanit Chaladchalam-Phataimas Muenwong 21-16, 23-21
WS2: He Bingjiao lost to Pornpawee Chochuwong 13-21, 21-18, 23-25
WD2: Cao Tong Wei-Yu Zheng beat Savitree Amitrapai-Pacharapun Chochuwong 19-21, 21-19, 21-14
Indonesia beat India 3-1
WS1: Feitriani Fitriani lost to P.V. Sindhu 13-21, 22-24
WD1: Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu beat Ashwini Ponnappa-N. Sikki Reddy 21-5, 21-6
WS2: Hanna Ramadini beat Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli 21-8, 21-15
WD2: Anggia Shitta Awanda-Ni Ketut Mahadewi Istarani beat Sanyogita Ghorpade-P.V. Sindhu 21-9, 21-18