China exacts revenge on Korea in Uber Cup

Updated 27 May 2012
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China exacts revenge on Korea in Uber Cup

WUHAN, China: World No. 1 Wang Yihan dramatically survived four match points in an epic singles contest as hosts China won the women’s Uber Cup yesterday, laying to rest the ghosts of two years ago.
“I saw the Uber Cup and thought, ‘what if I lose the match again like 2010?’. But then it made me more determined to prove that wrong,” said Wang after the 14-21, 22-20, 21-13 win over South Korea’s Sung Ji-Hyun.
“I never thought I would cry on court today but when I shouted suddenly I felt tears, and then when I hugged Li Yongbo (China’s head coach) I saw there were tears in his eyes too. It was a very emotional match,” Wang said.
Later, Li jokingly denied there had been tears in his eyes.
All week the world No. 1 had said it was her responsibility to bring the Uber Cup back home since the South Koreans broke China’s run of six consecutive wins in the last tournament, in 2010.
Wang rushed ahead in the first game as South Korea’s world number 11 looked stiff on court, nerves and tiredness taking their toll after a week of some punishing late-night thrillers.
But taking animated orders from Sung Han-Kook, her coach and father on the sidelines, Sung Ji-Hyun clawed her way back and as she edged ahead Wang’s game began to unravel.
The cool Sung closed out the first game and went ahead in the second, attacking fiercely and also benefiting from a host of Wang smashes that went wide. The battle at the net was fierce, drop shot against drop shot, the shuttle barely clearing the net. As the South Korean reached four match points, the partisan Wuhan crowd fell to near-silence.
On the sidelines, coach Li told Wang to stop going for the lines, “he said I shouldn’t try to be so precise because that is not my strength.”
Wang’s sheer determination and refusal to give up took her on a stunning six-point winning streak, while Sung’s game fell apart, the chance of a fantastic upset so close forcing her into careless mistakes.
Once level going into the third and final game, Wang never looked back, emerging the winner in a nearly 90-minute contest.
“I have a bad habit of letting players reach match point. It is my weakness and I did it again today. I have to overcome this,” Wang said afterwards.
A deflated Sung said nerves had hindered her at the crunch moment. “I played very well but I was just too nervous in the second game. That’s probably why I lost,” she said.
After Wang’s emotional triumph, the first doubles pairing Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli never gave the South Koreans a chance to get a grip on their match, setting the stage for world number two Wang Xin to secure the Cup for China.
Coach Li said the loss two years ago had been as much his responsibility as Wang’s.
“This time was different,” said Li, “last time I was complacent and didn’t take South Korea seriously... How players perform also reflects how coaches approach the match and their respect for the opponent.”
The 3-0 win makes it China’s 12th Uber Cup victory since the competition began in 1957.
“This is a new beginning for Chinese badminton,” declared Li, somewhat ominously given China’s near-dominance of the tournament over the past three decades. “I hope the young players can build on this.”
The Chinese men’s team will look to make it a double victory over the South Koreans when they contest the Thomas Cup final today.


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.