KOREA OPEN 2017 R16 – Chan/Cheah send the Adcocks packing

Mixed doubles at the Korea Open is down to one seed and two Malaysian pairs, as Chan Peng Soon and Cheah Yee See surprised England’s Chris and Gabrielle Adcock. By […]

Mixed doubles at the is down to one seed and two Malaysian pairs, as Chan Peng Soon and Cheah Yee See surprised England’s Chris and Gabrielle Adcock.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Seoul.  Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

With Olympic silver medallist Chan Peng Soon regrouping with a new partner, Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing may have been fancying their new role as Malaysia’s top mixed doubles pair.  Only at the Korea Open – where the quarter-final stage will feature only one seed, but two Japanese and two Malaysian pairs – Tan and Lai are not among the pairs to advance.

Of course, Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai (pictured right) have already made a name for themselves.  After closing out 2016 with the Scottish Open title, they began this year by losing a Grand Prix Gold final to Tan/Lai, which they followed up with another runner-up finish in Thailand in June, then at the SEA Games???  Goh and Lai narrowly lost out 24-26 in the opener but took the next two to book their spot in the quarter-finals.

The real upset came from Chan Peng Soon and new partner Cheah Yee See (pictured top).  Things began much as expected for European Champions Chris and Gabrielle Adcock (pictured below) as they took the opening game 21-16.  Their luck ran out in the second game, however, as the Malaysians played some great defence and caught the English pair with their guard slightly down, finding the open spaces at the right times, often enough to end up on top in the next two games.

“I think maybe our opponents were too stressed because they are the 2nd seeds and their world ranking is higher than ours,” said Chan Peng Soon after the match.  “Maybe, it’s also the first time they are playing against me with Cheah so they haven’t come up with the strategy to play us.

“I feel very lucky to be paired with a senior partner like Peng Soon and I think we are lucky to get this win, too,” said Cheah.

Surprised to learn that their next match would be against fellow surprise quarter-finalists Seo/Kim, to whom they lost in the opening round of the Chinese Taipei Open, Chan said, “In Taipei, it was the first time we had played them and we didn’t really have any strategy to use against them so I think we will analyse how to play them.

“I think winning the Russian Open gave Yee See a lot of confidence because it was her first time winning Grand Prix title.  For me, of course I feel really great that I can pair up with a junior partner and win this title.”

It was a similar pattern but in a very different context for the pair who would become Chan/Cheah’s quarter-final opponents.  Kim Ha Na may not be an Olympic medallist but she is the defending champion and she is in her first with Seo Seung Jae in a partnership that has already accumulated two Grand Prix Gold titles.

Still, the Koreans weren’t ready for their first game against Tan/Tse of Hong Kong and they had to save four match points before finally taking the deciding game 24-22.

Japan had two pairs go through but their top pairing of Kazuno and Kurihara was not one of them.  They lost early in the day to Germany’s Marvin Emil Seidel / Linda Efler (pictured bottom).

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net