Bangkok, China's men's badminton team fell short of expectations in an epic Thomas Cup battle against Denmark here on Thursday, which lasted more than six hours and ended past 3 a.m. local time.
The 3-2 result in favor of Denmark means that China will have to face defending champions Indonesia for a spot in the semifinals.
In a match that decides the group winner, China's Lu Guangzu mounted a brave challenge against world No.1 Viktor Axelsen in the opening singles, taking the first set but went down quickly in the remaining two to lose 17-21, 21-10, 21-9.
Liu Yuchen/Ou Xuanyi tied the score for China by beating Kim Astrup Sorensen/Mathias Christiansen in straight sets before Li Shifeng came back from behind to upset world No. 3 Anders Antonsen to put China 2-1 ahead.
The Danish pair Anders Skaarup Rasmussen/Frederik Sogaard then defeated He Jiting/Zhou Haodong 2-0 to tie the score again.
In the deciding third singles match, Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus overcame Weng Hongyang 2-1 in another thriller, ending the match 3-2 in Denmark's favor which lasted more than six hours, reports Xinhua.
China was then drawn to face Indonesia in the quarterfinals for a rematch of the Thomas Cup final last year, in which Indonesia swept China to claim the trophy.
The other three quarterfinals will feature Chinese Taipei against Japan, South Korea taking on Denmark and India versus Malaysia.