SUDIRMAN CUP DAY 6 – Do with ‘the flow’

The quality of players and warming towards their fullest potential varied greatly in Group 2. It resulted in repeated one-way-street ties and several players across any of the countries ending […]

The quality of players and warming towards their fullest potential varied greatly in Group 2. It resulted in repeated one-way-street ties and several players across any of the countries ending the week undefeated.

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Gold Coast.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

A player in action possessing a full stroke repertoire, superior game sense and showing excellence when facing adversaries with greater credentials was a rare commodity. Sport is entertaining and some of the usual plot-lines were played out as the minor placings were decided on Day 6.

Scenario 1: Flow

Watching a complete player displaying talent under pressure and playing with a flow is an educational experience. Flow is rarest of all talents and must not be confused with toying with an opponent or the triumph of an underdog possessing skills of a limited range.

In badminton, flow is beautiful because effective stroke technique is complemented by constantly finding the right strategy; and psychology of restorative propensity also has to complement healthy physiology.

Vietnam’s Do Tuan Duc (pictured right) once again can be singled out for exhibiting flow match after match in spite of his partners. He and Pham Nhu Thao won the critical opening mixed doubles over Crystal Wong / Danny Bawa Chrisnanta 21-18, 23-21.

Do was confident yet misleadingly casual in fully committing to return Wong’s short serves towards former mixed world #9 Chrisnanta to produced instant winners. Most of this match was won without busy smashing. Do has instinctive strategic reactions whereas mortals plan ahead, and he evinces  it from moment to moment so there’s no reading his plan. Sensing the occasion at the tail end of game two, Do/Pham doubled their pace and bombarded smashes for the first time. Pulling out such timing when you haven’t done so all match is further evidence of what is exceptional.

Scenario 2: Predictable

If you didn’t watch and checked the results later, you would think ‘Well, of course it’d turn out that way,’ and it was fair to say omnipresent tension in the ways these players won their matches was absent.

In women’s singles, Vu Thi Trang (pictured left) who had earlier shown the door in straight games to former world #14 Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland, dispatched a young Singaporean with less experience in an uncomplicated fixture.

Ditto Nguyen Tien Minh, more famous as a YouTube sensation for participating in the longest rally in men’s singles (supposedly 108 shots) against world #9 Jan Jorgensen at the 2013 World Championships than the bronze he earned there. Singapore’s Ryan Ng, whilst holding five game points in hand, was still in turn dealt a straight-game defeat by the renowned Vietnamese player.

Singapore’s men’s doubles win also slots into this category. Terry Hee finished undefeated in men’s doubles in Group 2 with a fourth win score of 21-12, 21-16. Singapore had fielded the combined experience of a former top 10 and current top 20 mixed specialists in Hee/Chrisnanta.

Scenario 3: Favourites on paper but could’ve gone either way

Sometimes one side ought to win and pulls through after struggling against an enthusiastic lower-ranked opponent. In tonight’s example, Australia’s regular partners Sawan Serasinghe / Matthew Chau (pictured right) were on court for an hour to beat Jason Ho-Shue / Nyl Yakura, the new Canadian combination of an all-rounder and doubles specialist, who recently won the Pan Am continental title.

Similarly yet different, there are occasions one side ought to win and pull through after struggling against a lethargic opponent. Setyana Mapasa / Gronya Somerville might have underestimated Canada, as Michelle Li used to be a top 20 women’s doubles player (circa London 2012 Olympic Games), a faculty perhaps the lady in question seemed to forget initially as well. Australia needed three games again but ultimately rescued 15th place overall from 2-1 down in the tie and also 1 game down in men’s doubles.

All of the scenarios are interesting. Humans make mistakes as a norm but very occasionally a performance of flow comes together. Outstanding is the player who makes it happen routinely.

Click here for complete results from Friday’s matches

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Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @ badzine.net