Friday, August 12, 2016
TEXT BY GAYLE ALLEYNE I BADMINTONPHOTO AND SHI TANG
Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan delivered a clinical performance against potentially troublesome opposition tonight to remain on track for the Women’s Doubles quarter-finals.
The No.4 seeds smothered twin sisters – Luo Yu and Luo Ying – into submission to grab the ascendancy in Group B with two victories in as many matches. Combining well in attack and defence, they romped to a 21-10 21-14 result, with only the Danish pair of Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl left to play in the round-robin phase.
Having arrived at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as one of the pairs to watch, the Koreans enhanced their medal-contending credentials tonight, dictating the on-court proceedings as they overpowered the Chinese.
“The match was much easier than we expected it would be. We have been training hard to beat the Chinese and it paid off for us tonight,” said Jung.
“Yesterday we were a bit nervous and tight (against Bulgaria) as it was important to start well. Today we were more relaxed and comfortable.”
Despite their two straight-games wins, Shin was reluctant to start contemplating the quarter-finals.
“Though we have won two matches, I don’t think it’s 100 per cent certain that we will progress. We still have to play the Danes and they are very good, so we can’t be sure we are safe yet.”
Disappointed with the result, the Luo sisters said they never recovered from a slow start and could not “catch up with the Koreans”.
“Also the shuttle was a bit uncontrollable because of the wind and that affected our confidence,” they explained.
Meanwhile, defending Women’s Singles champion, Li Xuerui, dispatched Lianne Tan of Belgium with equal haste and authority, speeding to a 21-11 21-11 win. However, the No.3 seed remained modest about her chances of becoming a double gold medallist.
“I am happy to be in the Olympics again. I feel no pressure and I will try my best for China,” she said.
Her next opponent will be Iris Wang who broke the spirited resistance of Telma Santos; the latter’s Portuguese origin earning her the greater share of Brazilian crowd support despite Wang being from the Pan American confederation.
Santos took the first game but her petite rival struck back and kept the momentum going into the decider to claim her second victory at the Rio 2016 Olympics, 18-21 21-10 21-12.
“It was a great atmosphere, especially to have some fans cheering for USA, though a lot were supporting her. It was fun. I usually don’t experience that at my matches,” said the 21-year-old, enjoying her first Summer Games.
Relishing her impending clash with Li to determine who progresses to the last 16, Wang noted there’s “more pressure on her (Li) as the Olympic champion”.
Vietnamese stalwart, Nguyen Tien Minh, expressed similar sentiments about his showdown with Men’s Singles ace, Lin Dan, which will also decide the group winner. The 33-year-old overcame a slow start to wrest control from Austria’s David Obernosterer in their Group E match, triumphing 21-18 21-14.
“Lin Dan is stronger than me but I hope the good momentum I have from my two win will help me. I hope I can surprise Lin Dan. It is a very important match,” said Nguyen, soaked from his on-court exertion.