China sweeps to badminton semifinals in women's event

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Defending badminton champions China got off to a good start here on Saturday, breezing past Malaysia 3-0 to sail into women's team semifinals at the Asian Games.

World top seed Li Xuerui started the match with ease, hardly breaking a sweat in beating Malaysia's Tee Jing Yi 21-9, 21-8, before world No. 4 pair Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing pushed aside Hoo Vivian Kah Mun and NG Hui Lin of Malaysia 21-18, 21-8 to help China lead by a score of 2-0.

Malaysia's Yang Li Lian tried to mount a comeback in the third match against China's Wang Shixian, with the second set going point for point until Wang, the world No. 2 seed and reigning women's singles champion, got past Yang 22-20 to secure a win for China after winning 21-15 in the first set.

"My opponent played well, and I had expected a third set," said Wang, adding she and her teammates had been mentally well prepared for possible difficulties at the Games.

"For my part, the only thing to do is to do my best in every single match," said Wang.

In the semifinals, China will take on Japan, who squeezed past Indonesia 3-0 on Saturday night. Japan is expected to seek to avenge their loss to China in the Uber Cup final in May this year.

"China is the world's best team in badminton. I know we'll have hard time tomorrow but if we do our best, I would be happy," Japanses team coach Park Ju-bong said after winning against Indonesia.

In the quarterfinals, India won a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Thailand in some surprise, as the latter took the silver at last Asiad held in Guangzhou, China four years ago. Meanwhile, host South Korea beat Chinese Taipei 3-0 to advance into the semifinals, which will take place on Sunday.

Earlier on Saturday, China's Hong Kong eased past the Maldives 3-0 in the first round of men's team event, booking a berth in the quarterfinals that will commence also on Sunday. It will take on China to fight for a place in the last four.

Also in the men's team competition, Lee Yongdae led South Korea to overclass India 3-0, while China's Macao lost to Nepal 3-0. Chinese Taipei, in the meantime, defeated Thailand 3-0 to advance to the next round.

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