OLYMPICS Day 3 – Drawing the curtain to a close on Doubles

The first Saturday stage drew the closing curtains on the doubles’ group stages. While most of the boxes just needed to decide the place number on their tickets, some pairs […]

The first Saturday stage drew the closing curtains on the doubles’ group stages. While most of the boxes just needed to decide the place number on their tickets, some pairs had to step on the stage to claim the right for the second ticket out of the box.

By Kira Rin. Photos (live): Yves Lacroix, Badmintonphoto

Mens Doubles Scramble for the 2nd ticket

With the Japanese pair having recorded 2 epic victories over the pairs of Chai Biao / Hong Wei and Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan, the 2 pairs were left to duke it out for the 2nd ticket out of group stage. For Hendra, as his 2nd since 2008, barring his non-participation in 2012, he was eager to progress forward to claim another medal. However, Ahsan was perhaps overly eager to answer his partner’s expectations, and it did not translate well into good defensive game making, as the perceptive Chinese pair picked apart their defenses with ease. His confidence further wavered with service faults called, leading him to pull up his pants in frustration. For a moment, Indonesia had a chance of forcing a final set with a 17 all tie, but China stepped forward to grab the final ticket 4 points later.

With the double Kims’ 2 game victory over the Danes Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen and the British Marcus Ellis / Chris Langridge  (pictured above) 2 setter over Polish Adam Cwalina / Przemyslaw Wacha saw a 3 way tie erupt in Group C. With the Koreans, the Danes and the Brits tied in matches won, it came down to game difference to decide the winner. While the Koreans took the 1st ticket with a 3 game difference (5 – 2), the British pair squeaked past with just an ever so slightly bigger game difference of 5 – 3.

Silver versus Bronze

No one would have expected Mixed Doubles Group B to be the box of death, but with each pair having won and lost a match, made their winning their final match even more crucial to obtain a ticket out. 2012 silver pairing Xu Chen and Ma Jin (photo) found themselves staring down 2012 bronze pair Joachim Fischer and Christinna Pedersen. Both pairs constantly fought to outmaneuver each other and stay one step ahead in the tactical play, as each side traded attack and defense. The Danes slowly withered China’s 6 point lead, and while Ma Jin started with a game point, the game turned into a sudden death decided on which side could gain the offensive first.

Off to a comfortable 1 game lead, the Danes seemingly stepped down a gear, as if attempting to conserve their energy for the matches ahead. This proved to be a fatal mistake, as the Chinese pair powered forwards in top gear, knowing full well that dropping another game would mean the end of the match for them. Xu Chen maintained his wide coverage, even if it meant diving towards the shuttle to get it back over. A bad landing saw Xu clutching his elbow in pain, but his mind was quick to numb the pain and turn back his focus to the match at hand. While Fischer attempted to recover a shred of dignity in saving a match point, he could not prevent Xu’s inevitable net shot that saw the silver pair progress into the draw.

For a moment, the Adcocks looked set to progress into the main draw with a 1 game and 6 point lead. However the tenacious Polish pair of Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba (photo) dug in deep to erase the deficit and bring the game to double death. The Poles saw down 3 match points before forcing a final set at their 4th game point. From there, it was smooth sailing for the Polish as they picked apart the exhausted Brits, sparing only 9 points.

Womens Doubles Yet another 3 way stand off

Referees were caught scrambling for their rulebooks and calculators in an effort to calm the Mexican standoff in Group B. China’s twins Luo Ying / Luo Yu were staring down Jung Kyung Eun / Shin Seung Chan and Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl, both who had 2 wins and a loss each. With matches won and games difference tied, the Luo sisters fought to keep their point losses down as they played against the US pairing of Eva Lee / Paula Obanana. All they needed was to get a 22 total point difference to squeak past the Danish pair, but with the US pair biting hard in every rally, the Chinese pair were only able to get away with an 8 point difference, leaving the box tickets to the Koreans and the Danes.

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