Xu/Ma Stage Escape – Day 1 Session 2: Rio 2016

Friday, August 12, 2016
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO

Olympic silver medallists Xu Chen and Ma Jin stumbled but recovered in time in their opening Group B Logomatch in the second session today.

The Chinese pair stared at match point against Great Britain’s Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock, before capitalising on a lucky break and powering to a three-game victory: 13-21 22-20 21-15.

In another match of the same group, Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen got the better of Poland’s Robert Mateusiak/Nadiezda Zieba in a close match, 21-18 22-20.

Xu and Ma (featured image) were outclassed in the early part of the match by the Adcocks, who were sharp and picked off the points against the increasingly frustrated Chinese. At match point, Gabrielle Adcock decided to flick-serve Ma Jin, but the tactic – which had worked wonderfully for her all through the match – let her down at the most crucial time. The shuttle landed marginally wide, and from there Xu and Ma staged their recovery act.

2session_Eefje MuskensA downcast Chris Adcock rued their luck: “Going in, we knew we could beat them. We fell just short. We had the chances; we can be proud of the way we fought. We’re disappointed. We had a good start, but they got control early in the third game.”

Ma Jin, delighted with the narrow win, was upset with Xu Chen for not pulling his weight in the match. “I kept yelling at him to take control, to attack harder, because no matter how much I attack, I cannot do it beyond a point. We almost lost; we were lucky,” Ma Jin said.

The Poland-Denmark match was close all the way, with Mateusiak and Zieba giving Nielsen and Pedersen a difficult time. The Poles were clever in their placement and angles and didn’t allow their opponents any rhythm at all. It was a matter of a few points in both games, and the Danes were the ones left standing.

“It has always been close between us,” said Mateusiak. “It’s such a shame we lost. We were leading 19-16 in the second and we could see they were nervous. The quality of the match was okay, our preparation was very good. Maybe we were not so ready in defence. Fischer and Pedersen are very good on the first three shots; they’re nearly perfect in that, and we missed two or three shots and that made the difference.”

In Group C, Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir and Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying emerged victorious over Robin Middleton/Leanne Choo (Australia) and Bodin Isara/Savitree Amitrapai (Thailand) respectively.

In Women’s Doubles, China’s Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang got their title quest off to a smooth start against Germany’s Carla Nelte/Johanna Goliszewski 21-10 21-11 in Group D. Korea’s Lee So Hee/Chang Ye Na overcame Bulgaria’s Stefani Stoeva/Gabriela Stoeva 24-22 21-15 in the same group.

2session_Goh & Tan Wee Kiong

Selena Piek/Eefje Muskens were impressive against Thailand’s Puttita Supajirakul/Sapsiree Taerattanachai in Group A. The Dutch duo were particularly sharp in defence as they thwarted the best that the Thais could throw their way, coming away victorious 21-13 22-20.

“Selena served really tight at 21-20 and that made the difference,” said Muskens. “We wanted to keep control at the net and they had to lift. It’s nice to start like this, it was a solid match. We play India (Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa) tomorrow, it will be different – they play a bit like Mixed Doubles.”

In Men’s Doubles, Denmark’s Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen overcame a difficult patch to get past Great Britain’s Chris Langridge/Marcus Ellis (Group C) 21-9 9-21 21-16, while Malaysia’s Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong were dominant over Germany’s Michael Fuchs/Johannes Schoettler, 21-14 21-17.

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