It was Danish delight this morning as Women’s and Men’s Doubles pairs made a push for the quarter-finals of the London Olympics.
Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter-Juhl (featured image) dealt a rare defeat to Chinese rivals, Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, while their male compatriots and world No. 3 pair, Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen, were in a no-nonsense mood against another pair from China, world No. 7 Chai Biao/Guo Zhendong.
In Women’s Doubles at Wembley Arena, it was the first loss world No. 2 combination Tian/Zhao has endured all year from non-Chinese opposition. Meanwhile, on an adjacent court, Boe/Mogensen won with surprising ease as the Men’s Doubles Group Stage progressed. This result means Boe/Mogensen will play Group A’s second-placed pair.
If world champions, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng of China, top Group A – as expected to do – they will have to play compatriots, Chai/Guo in the quarter-finals. Cai/Fu’s last group match against Chinese Taipei’s Fang Chieh Min/Lee Sheng Mu will determine if there will be an all-China quarter-final.
Both Danish pairs were impressive. Both attacked hard at every opportunity and kept their composure during rallies. Boe and Mogensen’s biggest advantage is the steepness of their attack and they used it to devastating effect. After a relatively comfortable first game (21-14), the Danes were pushed in the second but always held a marginal lead. The Chinese fought back from 12-16 to make it 17-18, but the Danes closed out the match on their second match point (21-19).
Similarly, Pedersen and Rytter-Juhl used the steepness of their smash to dent the Chinese wall. They were admirably composed during the short, quick exchanges. The first game was tense and Denmark took it thanks to excellent short serving by Rytter-Juhl.
The Danes avoided errors and rode high on confidence, Tian and Zhao making mistake after mistake while their European opponents grew in confidence to snatch the match 22-20 21-12. This result has thrown Group D wide open and only the last group fixture later today, between Miyuki Maeda/Satoko Suetsuna of Japan and Lok Yan Poon/Tse Ying Suet (Hong Kong) will confirm which pairs advance.
“This loss serves as a warning,” acknowledged Tian Qing . “You can never take things for granted.”
Meanwhile, former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia and Parupalli Kashyap of India clinched places in the last 16 of Men’s Singles with straight-games victories. Hidayat booked a date with defending champion Lin Dan of China after overcoming a spirited fight from Spaniard Pablo Abian.
The latter threw everything into the battle against Hidayat and was within a couple of points of snatching the first game. At the critical moment, however, the Indonesian turned to his biggest strength – his net game – forcing two lift from Abian, both of which he smashed to win the game. The Spaniard buckled in the second game; the eventual score 22-20 21-11.