A teenaged gold medallist at the last Olympics, Korean superstar – Lee Yong Dae – is on another medal quest at London 2012.
The doubles specialist, partnered by Chung Jae Sung in Men’s Doubles, advanced to the quarter-finals in impressive fashion over the Malaysian pair of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, 21-16 21-11.
While the score suggests a comfortable win, the Wembley Arena match was a high-octane battle between two teams familiar with each other’s styles.
All four men showed off their attacking and defensive prowess, with Chung the only one getting real penetration on smashes from the mid-court or in front his partner, not usually his positions of greatest authority. The Malaysians dominated the first half of game one – Tan literally in smashing form – but the Koreans overtook them to grab a one-game lead.
Despite a spirited effort from the Malaysians in the second game, the Koreans held firm – including withstanding an amazing rally in which all four players smashed ferociously and repeatedly – to win in straight games. The Koreans persisted with all-out attack and this was the crucial difference as the disheartened Koo and Tan began missing their targets and hitting long on many occasions.
By contrast, 23-year-old Lee – Mixed Doubles champion with Lee Hyojung in Beijing –oozed confidence. In flamboyant style, the popular player signed off by executing a brilliant cross-court smash return, more unexpected than unreachable, to seal match point.
Meanwhile, Denmark’s Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Ryter-Juhl lost 22-24 16-21 in Mixed Doubles to Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia. Despite this setback, all Danes across the five categories are assured of progressing from the Group Stage of competition. Jan O Jorgensen, seeded No. 12, was the last of his countrymen to join the party when he ousted Singapore’s Derek Wong 21-17 21-12 in the Men’s Singles. Another seed, Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki, triumphed over France’s Brice Leverdez.
On the women’s side, Adrianti Firdarsari of Indonesia caused an upset, sending home Bulgaria’s world No.15 seed Petya Nedelcheva, 21-10 21-15.
N.B. On Wednesday 1 August, 2012, four pairs were disqualified following Women’s Doubles matches that took place during the night session on Tuesday 31 July, 2012. They are: Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang (China); Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari (Indonesia); Jung Kyung Eun and Kim Ha Na (South Korea); and Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung (South Korea).