What a day for Chinese Taipei!
Tai Tzu Ying slayed her quarterfinals demons at major tournaments before Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin charged into the men’s doubles final, guaranteeing Chinese Taipei at least one medal for the first time in the Olympics.
Lee and Wang pulverised world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan with a display of big-hitting, not allowing the ‘Daddies’ a whiff of a chance. Not even Ahsan and Setiawan’s clever front-court play was sufficient to open up chances, for Lee and Wang were solid on all fronts. In the final, they face Li Jun Hui/Liu Yu Chen, who beat Malaysia’s Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik in straight games.
“It’s so exciting to be playing on such a big stage. We played with our idols and every point was difficult and also very nice,” said Wang.
His partner added: “Behind each point, it was quite difficult. There was always tension and we didn’t have time to relax. Playing an Olympic final is a great recognition of our training and all our efforts we have made into this match, but we will try to do better.”
As for Tai Tzu Ying, the world No.1 passed a test by fire against the opponent she’s most had trouble with in her career – Ratchanok Intanon – to enter the semifinals of a World Championships or Olympics for the first time.
It took a while for Tai to open up and display what she was capable of, and there were some breathtaking shots. Intanon matched her with her own phenomenal skills, frequently unleashing smash winners on either flank and taking the match to a tight finish.
Yet, Tai will be pleased at how well she stayed in the contest when it was slipping away.
Asked about her debut appearance in a major event semifinal, Tai said it wasn’t on her mind.
“I didn’t think too much about it because I still have a match tomorrow and I can’t be too happy.
“It was a very hard game, all the shuttles were very difficult to retrieve. I did a lot of preparation before the match and tried to catch each shuttle. I told myself not to give up and I have to try to get every point.”
As for her opponent in the semifinals, Pusarla V Sindhu, “I will do my best to defend because Sindhu will be tough.”