Wuhan: Lin Dan led hosts China to an emphatic victory over South Korea in the Thomas Cup final on Sunday, sending a message that he and his team-mates are in peak form for the London Olympics.
Widely regarded as the best player of all time and a sporting hero in China, Lin threw his t-shirt into the Wuhan crowd after his side were far too good in seeing off the Koreans 3-0, repeating the feat of the women's team on Saturday.
"Lot went through my mind last night. I don't know how many more Thomas Cups I'll play. This one is at home and I wanted to put on a good show. Every player gets nervous. When you're young it's because you're excited, it's the first time you wear your national colours. When you're older, it's because there's a lot of expectation... I didn't sleep so well last night," said Lin.
But the reigning Olympic champion showed no signs of tiredness or nerves in his match against Lee Hyun-Il, the 21-14, 21-17 victory easier than the scoreline suggested. "At our level it doesn't matter if you win 21-9 or 21-19, it's the outcome that counts," Lin said as China picked up their fifth consecutive Thomas Cup title and ninth since the men's tournament began in 1949.
South Korea's world number seven managed to push the world number two harder in the second game, drawing even at 17-17 as Lin buried a smash into the net. But he failed to win another point. "There were no tactical changes between the games. I just took every point as it came. But in the end I made too many mistakes. That's why I lost," said Lee.
South Korea's coach Sung Han-Kook had said the first singles was the key match - whoever wins takes the momentum in the tie.
"He is a superior player. His accuracy and speed are remarkable. And it is his consistency throughout a match that keeps him apart from the rest," said Lee.
"I am going to use every day as an opportunity to prepare and improve," said Lin, whose path to another gold may be a little easier since world number one and archrival Lee Chong Wei injured his ankle earlier in the week.
South Korea's doubles pairing put up a fight to rescue the final, but when they failed to convert a handful of game points, the Chinese duo punished them and Fu Haifeng ripping off his t-shirt as they won 21-16, 25-23.
It was left to the towering Chen Long to wrap up the match for his country in the second singles, and swanning onto court. The world number three looked to be savoring the moment ahead of time. But he did the business, out-classing the in-form Shon Wan-Ho, especially with some exquisite backhand slices, to win 21-9, 21-13.
The men's victory caps a stunning week for China's Olympic preparations, after the women's team won the Uber Cup against South Korea, and also without dropping a single match on the way.