In a battle of present versus future, a strong medal contender was shown the door as Olympic quarter-final fixtures took shape at Wembley Arena.
Germany’s world No. 6 seed Juliane Schenk, who won her first major title (the India Open Superseries) recently, crashed out to Thailand’s rising sensation, Ratchanok Intanon, in straight games (21-16 21-15) in Women’s Singles this afternoon. Schenk was among the few whom it was thought could challenge the Chinese for a medal.
Top seed, Wang Yihan, had somewhat of a scare. The Chinese player came back from a game down to No. 11 seed, Bae Yeon Ju of Korea, turning the tide to eventually win the encounter, 15-21 21-14 21-14.
Wang will have a replay of last year’s World Championships final, as she faces Cheng Shao Chieh of Chinese Taipei, who had problems in the first game against Gu Juan of Singapore, but closed it out 21-18 21-10.
“Today was a lot tougher than my previous matches so I had to work hard,” said Cheng Shao Chieh.
Two Men’s Singles veterans came through with little trouble. Korea’s No.7 seed Lee Hyun Il had a surprisingly easy 21-17 21-13 victory over Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen (No.12). The Dane was competitive in the first game, coming close at 17-19, but Lee held his nerve and from then was never threatened.
Meanwhile, 2008 Olympics silver medallist, Lee Chong Wei – on the comeback trail after ankle injury – looked impressive against Indonesia Open Superseries champion, Simon Santoso of Indonesia. The 21-12 21-8 result gives the Malaysian a quarter-final berth versus India’s Parupalli Kashyap.
There were many heart-stopping matches in the afternoon session. The No. 2 seeds in Mixed Doubles, Xu Chen and Ma Jin, were within a point of losing to Polish veterans, Robert Mateusiak/Nadiezda Zieba, but the Chinese courageously held firm under pressure to clinch their semi-final place (19-21 21-16 23-21).
The Poles saved one match point and earned one of their own but could not convert it. The Chinese will take on Indonesia’s All England champions, Tontowi Ahmad/Lilyana Natsir, in the last four. The top half of the draw has No. 1 seeds Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei facing off against Joachim Fischer/Christinna Pedersen of Denmark.
Fischer and Pedersen were dominant over Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthongkam of Thailand (21-15 21-13). The Thai pair has been in great form recently but the Danes imposed their attacking game from the start and the Thais were constantly fending off steep hits from the tall Danes whose defence slowly crumbled.