AARHUS -- The powerhouse Chinese badminton team overwhelmed underdog Tahiti 5-0 here on Sunday in the first round of Thomas Cup group games.
All the Tahiti players were excited to play against the defending champion in the group opener as it is the team's debut in the Thomas Cup.
In the first match of singles, Lu Guangzu knocked down 19-year-old Louis Beaubois, 21-4, 21-5 in 23 minutes.
"Lu got everything on the court. It's amazing to play against a player of that level. I was so surprised to see, like wow, China is the most incredible country in badminton," said Beaubois.
In the following two singles matches, 21-year-old Li Shifeng smashed 25-year-old Remi Rossi, 21-4, 21-10 and 22-year-old Weng Hongyang claimed an easy win over Glen Lefoll, 21-4, 21-4.
Before Rossi and Lefoll paired to play the doubles against the Chinese duo Di Zijian and Wang Chang, Elias Maublanc and Heiva Yvonet lost to He Jiting and Tan Qiang 21-8, 21-2 in the quick run of 17 minutes in the fourth match.
"China is the world's top team. We're lucky to be here, playing against the professional players. It's a great pleasure," said Rossi. "I don't regret anything. I tried my best, no matter it's a 50-50 or what. I'm happy to give my all. I'm so satisfied with the results."
Lefoll told Xinhua that the Chinese players are so perfect in everything. "To keep up the pace with him makes my leg hurt. The only thing we can do is trying to keep the rally, hoping for some opportunities, though it's not easy to get one."
"It was more like trying not to get zero. My goal is to get 5 points in the whole match. I got 4 and 4, Oh my, I feel like I could fight a bit more. I can see clearly the gap between us and China. They have so many good players, tradition, history and everything," said 29-year-old Lefoll.
Lefoll said the whole team was totally aware of the level gap. "It seems impossible to get out of the group, but we're expecting to have fun and a good experience playing against top players."
As the youngest player in the tournament, 14-year-old Maublanc shared feelings of excitement and satisfaction.
"It's surprising to score 8 points because we know that they're the best doubles players in China. We were never expecting to win. It's difficult to start the tournament from China, but we are not as stressed as in Sudirman Cup. We hoped to get 10 points and we made it," said Maublanc.
In the final match of doubles, Lefoll and Rossi played their first international game as a pair, losing to the Chinese duo 21-3, 21-12, but 15 points are the best results of team Tahiti.
"Both of us played singles and doubles against different Chinese players. Actually we did not lose so much energy because the matches are not long," said Rossi.
China will face the Netherlands on Tuesday in the second round of Thomas Cup group matches.