London 2012: Day 3 – Session 3: Korea’s Top Guns Bow Out

Korea suffered another surprise exit in the Group Stage on the third night of Olympic badminton.

Still reeling from this afternoon’s shock loss of world No. 8 seed, Sung Ji Hyun, to world No. 22 Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong in Women’s Singles, the country added Men’s Doubles pair, Ko Sung Hyun/Yoo Yeon Seong, to their casualty list tonight.

Having already recorded a defeat at the hands of Thailand, the Koreans could not afford to falter again – but they did. Despite winning five consecutive points to gain a handy lead late in the first game, they saw Indonesia’s Bona Septano/Mohammad Ahsan erase the deficit and go on to win the first game 24-22.

In the second game, Ko/Yoo appeared bereft of a better plan, relying on defence. They never recovered from their slow start and lost 12-21.

It was a match of furious exchanges and great athleticism, especially on Ahsan’s part. Executing lots of energetic smashes, he refused to give up the offensive advantage once his team grabbed it. The world No. 6 Indonesians therefore lived to fight another day by disposing of their world No. 4 opponents and placing second in Group B.

“Our opponents were really good, but we did not perform well that is why we failed to qualify,” said Yoo Yeon Seong.

“We had a 0-4 loss record against the Koreans so we’re very happy that we got our first win against Ko/Yoo in this very important do-or-die match,” said Ahsan.

A minor upset also occurred in Group B of the Women’s Doubles when world No. 16 Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa silenced the world No. 10 pair from Taiwan in three games 25-23, 16-21, 21-18. Ponnappa’s insistent smashing proved the winning ingredient as she dismantled the defence of Cheng Wen Hsing and Chien Yu Chin.  India’s victory was aided by Cheng’s nervous short serving which sat up to be attacked. Cheng also fluffed an easy tap kill at the net to gift the Indians match point – and they took it first time of asking.

Tonight, the ignominy of Germany’s severe Mixed Doubles defeat by the Chinese on the first day was erased with a jump for joy. Michael Fuchs and Birgit Michels were thrilled – especially Fuchs who hugged every member of their entourage – to overcome Russia’s world No. 12 pair, Alexandr Nikolaenko and Valeria Sorokina.

The Germans advance to the next stage of the competition, winning 21-18, 12-21, 21-19.

The Russian Men’s Doubles – Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov – lost to the Chinese duo, Guo Zhendong/Chai Biao, 23-21 21-15. Unlike Lee Chong Wei’s, the first appearance of Denmark’s Peter Gade at these Olympics was a straightforward affair.  Being the top ranked European on the circuit and a pioneer in the European style of play, he breezed past Portugal’s Pedro Martin, 21-14, 21-8.

World No. 2 Lee of Malaysia weathered the storm of heavy smashes from Finland’s Ville Lang’s racket. The two men treated the large crowd to one of the best singles match of the night, ending 21-8, 14-21, 21-11 in Lee’s favour.

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