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South Korea clinch last Thomas Cup ticket, China emerge champions

South Korea claimed the last ticket to the Thomas Cup Finals in Wuhan, China, from May 20-27 when they finished fifth at the Asian qualifiers in Macau on Sunday.

They joined China, who defeated Japan 3-0 in the final, Indonesia and Malaysia from the Asian qualifiers.  They will be joined by Denmark, Germany, England and Holland from Europe and three more countries – one each from Oceania, Pan-America and Africa – for the Finals in May.

South Korea missed out on automatic berth to China after suffering defeats to Malaysia and Indonesia, but swept the 5th-8th play-offs by beating Taipei 3-2, Thailand 4-1 and India 3-2 on Sunday.

Kashyap Parupalli had given India the lead when he defeated Lee Hyun Il 21-18, 21-17, but the Koreans then won the next three matches via Lee Yong Dae-Ko Sung Hyun, Shon Wan Ho (above), and Yoo Yeong Seong-Shin Baek Choel to confirm their progress to the Finals. Hong Ji Hoon gave a walkover to B. Sai Praneeth in the dead rubber to make the final score 3-2 in favour of South Korea.

China, as expected, were a class above their rivals in the qualifiers and claimed top spot when Chen Long, Chai Biao-Guo Zhengdong and Du Pengyu all won in straight games.

Chen Long (left), defeated Sho Sasaki 21-19, 21-16, Chai Biao-Guo Zhengdong edged Shoji Sato-Naoki Kawamae 21-17, 22-20, and Du Pengyu was too good for Kazushi Yamada, winning 21-12, 21-11.

Indonesia finished fifth in the Uber Cup after posting their third straight victory in the play-offs, when they beat Hong Kong 4-1. They had earlier defeated Malaysia and Singapore 5-0.

For full results, click here.

Meanwhile, over at the Pan-Am qualifiers, the United States will face off with Canada for the lone Uber Cup ticket. Both teams have won their opening three matches with identical 5-0 victories, but the Americans lead after conceding less points.

Canada will start as favourites to qualify for the Thomas Cup, but will have to get past the US in the semi-finals. The other semi-final will see Brazil taking on Guatemala.

For full results, click here.

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