Sunday, May 21, 2017
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO & SHI TANG
Canada fought back from the brink of defeat to post a 3-2 victory over Scotland in sub-group 2A at the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017 in Gold Coast today.
In other ties of the opening session, China, Vietnam and New Caledonia posted identical 4-1 wins over Hong Kong (1A), New Zealand (2A) and Guam (3A) respectively.
It was Men’s Doubles pair Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura (featured image) who saved Canada from near-certain defeat against Scotland. Going into the fourth match with Canada 1-2 behind, the two Canadians were involved in a nail-biting clash against Martin Campbell and Patrick MacHugh. The Scots had the chance to wrap up the tie with a 20-18 lead, but the Canadians kept up their attacking momentum under pressure and extracted the errors, eventually pulling off a 22-24 23-21 21-17 win in 66 minutes.
“I was a bit disappointed after losing my Men’s Singles because I wasn’t at my best,” said Ho-Shue. “But I tried to let it go and focus on the game.”
Their win set the stage for Michelle Li and Rachel Honderich in the final Women’s Doubles; the Canadians were dominant over Julie MacPherson/Eleanor O’Donnell, winning the tie for Canada with a 21-6 21-11 result.
Scotland had the perfect start to the tie with Adam Hall and Eleanor O’Donnell beating Nyl Yakura/Rachel Honderich 14-21 21-17 21-10 in Mixed Doubles. Kieran Merrilees made it 2-0 (Men’s Singles) over Ho-Shue 21-18 21-12.
The tide turned for Canada in Women’s Singles. Michelle Li, on the comeback trail following surgery, prevailed over Kirsty Gilmour in a close contest, 21-12 22-24 21-18.
“It’s almost a little strange, it’s so long since I’ve been on the international stage, I’m not used to high intensity matches, especially with so many tight points,” said Li. “But it’s a good start, and I’m excited and looking forward to the next couple of years.
“I tried to make sure I didn’t put any pressure on myself, because if that happens I get tight. Coming back from injury, I can’t expect too much of myself yet, and I don’t want to push myself too hard because I don’t want to get injured again. So it’s one step at a time. It’s just nice to play without pain now.”
China Roll Over Hong Kong
Defending champions China had little trouble against Hong Kong in their opening sub-group 1A assignment, the only hiccup being the loss of Mixed Doubles pair Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen to Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet in the fifth match, 10-21 21-16 21-18.
Hong Kong chose to go into the tie without their highest-ranked players in four of the five categories, and they paid dearly. Rio Olympic winners Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan, having reunited in March after their gold medal-winning exploits last August, made it past Law Cheuk Him/Lee Chun Hei 21-15 26-24.
Sun Yu routed young Women’s Singles player Fan Ka Yan, before Lin Dan sealed the tie in Men’s Singles, jogging past Hu Yun 21-14 21-13.
Bao Yixin/Tang Jinhua were likewise untroubled by Ng Tsz Yau/Yeung Nga Ting in Women’s Doubles, 21-11 21-13, before Tang/Tse salvaged some pride for Hong Kong by over-coming the rusty-looking Zheng/Chen in three close games.
Vietnam Ease Past New Zealand
New Zealand had their chances at taking the opening Mixed Doubles over Vietnam but Oliver Leydon-Davis/Susannah Leydon-Davis narrowly fell short against Do Tuan Duc/Pham Nhu Thao 21-13 18-21 22-20.
Veteran Nguyen Tien Minh breezed past Dylan Soedjasa (Men’s Singles) but Kevin Dennerly-Minturn/Oliver Leydon-Davis kept the Kiwis in the hunt beating Do Tuan Duc/Pham Hong Nam 21-18 14-21 21-12 in Men’s Doubles.
Vu Thi Trang (Women’s Singles) and Nguyen Thuy Linh/Pham Nhu Thao (Women’s Doubles) made it 4-1 for Vietnam.
New Caledonia Beat Guam
Sub-group 3A saw New Caledonia seal their tie against Gaum in the first three matches. Jeremy Lemaitre gave New Caledonia a sound start winning his Men’s Singles before Johanna Kou added a point in Women’s Singles. Ronan Ho-Yauges/Morgan Paitio made it 3-0 beating Sunardi Li/David Yao 21-7 21-15 in Men’s Doubles.
Guam got a point in Women’s Doubles through Grace Cai/Sarah Cai, but New Caledonia completed the rout winning the Mixed Doubles for a 4-1 score.