Sports Shorts: Japan ends China's Thomas Cup domination
Olympic champion Lin Dan watched helplessly as badminton powerhouse China's decade-long Thomas Cup reign came to a spectacular end after Japan pulled off a huge upset with a 3-0 victory in the semi-final of the men's team event on Friday.
Japan will face Malaysia in their maiden Thomas Cup final on Sunday after Lin's old rival Lee Chong Wei inspired the Malaysians to a comprehensive 3-0 win over Indonesia in the second semi-final.
Ranked a lowly 58th, a reflection of his infrequent outings since winning the gold at London Olympics, "Super Dan" was eligible to play only the third singles but his teammates could not stretch the contest to that point as China's bid for a 10th Thomas Cup title came unstuck.
World No 2 Chen Long lost 21-13, 21-11 to Kenichi Tago and the Chinese, winners of the last five editions, fell further behind when they lost the first doubles match at the Siri Fort Complex.
Veteran Du Pengyu rekindled Chinese hopes by claiming the first game against Kento Momota but it was the 2012 world junior champion who prevailed in an 85-minute battle between youth and experience.
Japan's Korean coach Park Joo Bong had no hesitations in admitting he was shocked by the outcome.
"It came as a big surprise to us all," he said.
"What was even more surprising was the way Momota won the second singles against Du. If he had not, then the tie could have gone either way with Lin Dan to play the third singles," conceded Park.
Momota, who showed maturity beyond his 19 years, said he never got overwhelmed by the intimidating record of his rivals.
"We were always targeting the Chinese as we thought they were beatable despite the fact that they had very good singles players," said the youngster after his 23-25, 21-18, 21-14 victory. "I am happy that I got a chance to finish things off,” said Momota who created difficult angles and displayed superior net play to clinch the contest.
China, however, remained on course to defend their Uber Cup title after overpowering South Korea 3-0 in the first semi-final of the women's event.
In Saturday's final, they will face Japan who downed hosts India 3-2 in the second semi-final.
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Image: Kenichi Tago of Japan
Photographs: Samsul Said/Reuters
Chelsea's Luiz set for Paris St Germain swoop
French champions Paris St Germain have agreed terms with Chelsea to sign Brazil defender David Luiz, the clubs said on Friday.
"The move is now subject to David Luiz agreeing personal terms with PSG and passing a medical examination," Premier League club Chelsea said on their website (www.chelseafc.com).
British media reported that the versatile 27-year-old would command a world record fee for a defender of between 40 million ($67.37 million) and 50 million pounds ($84.21 million).
That would surpass the 36 million pounds Qatari-backed PSG paid for Luiz's Brazil team mate Thiago Silva in 2012 although neither club disclosed the financial terms of their agreement.
The easily recognisible Luiz, with his long and shaggy hair, joined Chelsea in January, 2011 from Benfica for about 21 million pounds and helped the west London side win the Champions League for the first time the following year.
Strong, energetic and armed with a powerful shot, Luiz likes to venture forward but can be somewhat erratic and prone to the odd defensive lapse.
He has made 143 appearances for Chelsea in 3-1/2 seasons at StamfordBridge, scoring 12 goals.
PSG said in a statement that they hoped to reach a quick agreement with Luiz, who can also play as a defensive midfielder and is part of Brazil's World Cup squad for the finals which start next month.
"In accordance with the player's wish to prepare for and play in the World Cup in his home country and in the best possible conditions, both clubs and David Luiz wished to reach an agreement as soon as possible between, on the one hand, Paris St Germain and Chelsea, and on the other, between the Parisian club and the player in order to formalise the transfer as soon as the transfer window opens (on June 10)," the club said.
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Image: David Luiz
Photographs: Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Joe Cole to leave West Ham
West Ham United have released former England midfielder Joe Cole, the Premier League club said on Friday.
Cole, 32, first joined the club 20 years ago and had two spells with them.
He moved to Chelsea in 2003, staying for seven years and winning the Premier League three times, then had three years at Liverpool, one of them spent on loan to French club Lille.
Returning to London in January last year on an 18-month contract, he could not command a regular place and was not offered a new deal.
His 56 games for England, with 10 goals, included appearances at three World Cups.
Defender George McCartney and midfielder Jack Collison have also been released, West Ham said on their website (www.whufc.com).
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Image: Joe Cole
Photographs: Toby Melville / Reuters
Golf: Indians crash out from BMW PGA Championships
A disastrous finish saw Indian golfer Shiv Kapur crash from a decent position to out of the tournament as he ended the second round with a seven-over 79 at the BMW PGA Championship here.
Kapur, the best Indian in the first round with a 70, gave away two double bogeys on 15th and 18th and in between had bogeys on 16th and 17th to finish at five-over.
The cut came at two-over.
Also making an early exit were Jeev Milkha Singh (72-75) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (73-76).
Meanwhile, at the top Shane Lowry closed with a brace of birdies to join Thomas Bjorn at the top of the leaderboard. Lowry responded to a double bogey on the ninth hole by completing the back nine in just 33 strokes.
His round of 70 moved the Irishman to 10-under alongside Bjorn, who signed for a level-par round of 72.
The third place was shared between Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello and two-time BMW PGA Champion Luke Donald, whose superb 67 was the lowest of the day.
Image: Shiv Kapur
Photographs: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images