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Kunshan (China) (AFP) - Lin Dan's China cruised past Japan at the Thomas Cup Wednesday night, much to the delight of a rowdy home-town crowd, enacting sweet revenge against the squad that knocked them out of the tournament two years ago.
The pre-eminent badminton nation were stunned in the 2014 semi-finals of the world team championship by Japan, who then beat Malaysia to secure the country's first Thomas Cup crown.
The Chinese men's team maintained a relentless pace in the 5-0 rout of their arch rivals in Kunshan, with the Japanese struggling to close the gap in the absence of Kento Momota who was suspended in April over a gambling scandal.
Badminton icon Lin appeared to regain his form after struggling earlier this week.
The world number three peppered Japan's Takuma Ueda with baseline lobs, drop shots and the occasional leaping overhead slam that elicited roaring approval from the partisan audience.
"He's a super star, super Dan!" yelled fan Liang Zhaofan.
Following the 21-18, 21-8 win, Lin described the match as a timely stepping stone before the team enter the quarter-finals on Thursday.
"(It) was perfect preparation," Lin told a press conference. "I will try my best to bring the Thomas Cup back to China."
In the evening's opening match top ranked Chen Long battled Japan's Sho Saski shot-for-shot in a three-game scrap that saw the world number one hammer out a hard-earned 20-22, 21-17, 21-12 win.
"I played with my full mental strength," Chen told reporters.
"I think we did well in the group stage but the real difficult games start tomorrow."
However, the feud between the teams may not be finished just yet, with China emerging as the first seed from their grouping and Japan the second -- allowing for another possible showdown in the knockout stage.
China's men won the Thomas Cup five times in a row until their defeat to Japan in 2014.
In Uber play, the Chinese women starched their Danish opponents in a 5-0 sweep, cementing their status as the tournament favourites heading into Thursday's quarters.
World number three Li Xuerui kept Denmark's Natalia Koch Rohde in constant motion during her 21-9, 21-11 near effortless win.
And in doubles Chen Qingchen and Tang Yuanting overwhelmed their Danish competition with relentless smashing shots to earn a 21-10, 21-5 victory.
China's Sun Yu finished off the evening with a combination of deep serves and slicing backhands to outclass Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt 21-10, 21-10.
Both competitions feature 16 teams divided into four groups, with the top two in each qualifying for the quarter-finals.