Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin had never taken a game off Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in three previous matches, but they needed to beat the top seeds today to stay alive in the competition and they did just that.
The Chinese Taipei duo found their best form when it mattered and the result was a 21-18 15-21 21-17 victory in their last Group A match which guaranteed them a place in the quarterfinals over India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty. The top two places in the group were decided on countback (difference between games won and lost).
“Today we started slow, and I think they played well because they needed a win to pass the group stage, and we appreciate they played good today. We always try our best in every match but they played better. They are quite fast and they didn’t make many mistakes today,” said Fernaldi.
Wang Chi-Lin said they found their best form when it mattered.
“We had no pressure and so we played better than yesterday. We lost the first match as we were playing too defensively, so we tried to enjoy the match today and get on the attack. It was our best performance in this competition so far.”
Danes Trip Up
On Sunday, Sara Thygesen and Maiken Fruergaard had blown open Group C with their upset win over world No.4 Lee Sohee/Shin Seungchan. The Danes, 12 ranking places above Gronya Somerville and Setyana Mapasa, were expected to prevail in their final group match over the Australians and appeared strong contenders for a quarterfinal place.
However, in one of the biggest surprises of the event so far, Somerville and Mapasa held their ground, proving too hard for the Danes to crack. A narrow first game win provided the platform for the Australians, and the Danes surprisingly withered in the third game as they fell 21-19 13-21 21-12. The result gave a lifeline to Lee Sohee/Shin Seungchan ahead of their final group match against Du Yue/Li Yin Hui, helping them qualify for the quarterfinals ahead of the Danes.
“I don’t know if it’s our biggest win, but happening at the Olympics is really special. We’ve been pretty disappointed with our performance so far, so to finish with a win against a great pair and to have played some good badminton for all our family and friends in Australia to watch is really special.
“We knew we could do better after our first two losses. We weren’t really dispirited. We knew we had it in us to play this level. So we’re really happy to have done that today.”