Sunday, May 19, 2019
TEXT BY GAYLE ALLEYNE | BADMINTONPHOTO
A point from losing the first match of their tie, China recovered to rout Malaysia 5-0 on the opening night of the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019 in Nanning.
Despite the overall result, the powerful hosts didn’t have it all their way though and were made to buckle down and fight in the early stages. In the opening Group 1D clash, Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik gave Li Junhuiand Liu Yuchen an almighty scare, holding match point versus the Chinese stars.
However, the world champions snuffed out the Malaysians’ threat before finally prevailing 18-21 21-14 24-22 in an enthralling men’s doubles battle that saw some lightning-fast exchanges, deft touches and fiery smashing. Women’s singles followed and Chen Yufei also struggled somewhat in that encounter as Soniia Cheahforced a decider, with some enterprising play late in the second game. Chen shook off that blip to put China 2-0 ahead (21-15 21-23 21-14).
In their remaining three outings, China gradually increased their dominance. Shi Yuqi allayed any fears with a sterling 21-12 21-11 drubbing of Lee Zii Jia in men’s singles; his conquest earning the decisive third point. His peers in the women’s tandem and mixed doubles finished the proceedings in straight games also.
Chinese Taipei too began well, ousting Hong Kong 3-2 in Group 1C. Led by their singles specialists, Tai Tzu Ying and Chou Tien Chen, the Taipei team wrapped up the formalities in the first three fixtures. However, Hong Kong bounced back to take women’s and mixed doubles.
Intriguingly, the talented Cheung Ngan Yi was two points from stunning Tai in women’s singles. Had she upset the world No.1, it might have been an entirely different matter.
Quote of the Session
“It was a hard match, very tough. We played a lot of rallies and the momentum was going back and forth. We didn’t play well in some parts of the first game and in the early part of the third game.
“Malaysia were very strong today and they played well. This match is a big lesson for us and we will use it to get better for the remaining matches,” said Liu Yuchen.
High drama unfolded in Group 2B as Israel held a 2-1 advantage before Germany fought back to seize the tie 3-2.
Ksenia Polikarpova’s addition to the team saw an enhanced Israeli squad taking both singles matches while Germany’s doubles pairs proved reliable. Women’s duo, Johanna Goliszewski and Lara Kaepplein squared the tie 2-2 and then their mixed doubles teammates, Marvin Seidel and Linda Efler, sealed the deal. The latter dismantled May Bar Netzer and Ksenia Polikarpova, 21-7 21-11.
Elsewhere, Australia won bragging rights over their Oceania neighbours, New Zealand, in Group 3A. The team from Down Under only dropped men’s singles as Abhinav Manota defeated Jacob Schueler (21-16 21-17). Setyana Mapasa starred for Australia in women’s and mixed doubles.