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China wins its 10th Thomas Cup title after Japan scare

NONTHABURI , Thailand (AP) – Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen survived two match points before beating Keigo Sonoda and Yuta Watanabe 17-21, 21-19, 22-20 to give China its 10th Thomas Cup men’s badminton title with a 3-1 win over Japan on Sunday.

Li and Liu fought back from trailing 18-20 in the decider to beat the Japanese duo in a 70-minute encounter.

China last won the tournament in 2012.

China’s Li Junhui, rear, Liu Yuchen return the shuttlecock to Japan’s Keigo Sonoda, Yuta Watanabe during their Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Japan started in style when Kento Momota stamped his authority over Rio Olympic gold medalist Chen Long 21-9, 21-18, his second win over the fourth-ranked player after the Asian Championships final last month in Wuhan.

Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan put China back on track with a 21-10, 21-18 win over Takuto Inoue and Yuki Kaneko.

Third-ranked Shi Yuqi beat No. 14 Kenta Nishimoto 21-12, 21-17 as China took the lead before Li and Liu sealed victory.

Japan reached both the Thomas and Uber Cups finals. Its women’s team beat Thailand 3-0 for their sixth Uber Cup win on Saturday.

Shi Yuqi of China celebrates after winning to Kenta Nishimoto of Japan during their Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Shi Yuqi of China celebrates after winning to Kenta Nishimoto of Japan during their Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Kenta Nishimoto of Japan returns a shot to Shi Yuqi of China during their Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Kenta Nishimoto of Japan returns a shot to Shi Yuqi of China during their Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

China's Li Junhui, left, and Liu Yuchen right react after winning their Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

China’s Li Junhui, left, and Liu Yuchen right react after winning their Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Chinese team members celebrate after winning Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Chinese team members celebrate after winning Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

China team members react after winning their Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

China team members react after winning their Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Japan's Takuto Inoue, front, and Yuki Kaneko return the shuttlecock to China's Liu Cheng, Zhang Nan during their Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Japan’s Takuto Inoue, front, and Yuki Kaneko return the shuttlecock to China’s Liu Cheng, Zhang Nan during their Thomas Cup finals badminton match at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, May 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

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