WORLDS 2013 R16 – Koreans chip away at mixed top 8

Korea’s reunited mixed doubles pairs removed two more top 8 seeds going into the final 8 at the Wang Lao Ji BWF World Badminton Championships. By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent […]

Korea’s reunited mixed doubles pairs removed two more top 8 seeds going into the final 8 at the Wang Lao Ji BWF World Badminton Championships.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Guangzhou.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The last 8 at the Wang Lao Ji BWF World Badminton Championships in Guangzhou is without 3 of the top 8 seeds and all three have been casualties of Korea’s mixed pairs, none of which had played together in the last five months.

On Tuesday, Kim Ki Jung and Jung Kyung Eun had already taken care of fifth-seeded Chan/Goh of Malaysia.  Although Kim/Jung did not progress to the quarter-finals, the Korean honour is still being defended by two other re-united pairs, who each offed title favourites late in the day on Thursday in Guangzhou.

The biggest upset of the day in mixed doubles came as unseeded Shin Baek Cheol and Eom Hye Won (pictured above) fended off a match point from fourth-seeded Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen (pictured right) before snatching the tying game, then turned things around again with a 6-point run part-way through the decider en route to sealing the upset.

“There was no secret to today’s win,” said Shin Baek Cheol after the match.  “It’s just that we trained really, really hard for this event and we put a lot of effort in when we played.

“Of course, it took some getting used to after going several months without playing together but we have quite a bit of experience as a pair so it wasn’t that difficult to resume.

“Our coach was behind us all the way and kept urging us to keep from lifting the shuttle to Fischer Nielsen because he such a good attack.  For us, we had to get the attack first and not try to defend so we were trying not to just lift the shuttle back but to turn it around so we could take the attacking opportunities.”

When asked about her increased killing of the shuttle at the net toward the end, Eom Hye Won denied that it was just the opportunities that were coming her way: “I was doing what the coach was telling me to do, to attack at the net.”

“We have to play Rijal and Susanto of Indonesia next,” added Shin.  “We have never played them before so we’re going to spend some time before tomorrow analysing their match videos with our coach.”

In the last match of the evening on Court 4, 7th-seeded Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam were shown the exit by Yoo Yeon Seong / Jang Ye Na.  Although the Koreans hadn’t played together since December, they wasted no time in dispatching the Thai veterans in straight games.  The mixed victories are even sweeter for the Korean team as in the last edition of the Worlds, they showed up without a single mixed pair qualified for the first time in the event’s history.

The upsets may actually increase the likelihood of an all-Chinese final in mixed doubles, as three pairs who have been able to trouble both Xu/Ma and Zhang/Zhao are now out and both Chinese pairs won in straight games.

Xu/Ma have never lost to a Korean mixed pair and of the 7 other quarter-finalists, only the two Indonesian pairs and Zhang/Zhao have ever beaten the world #1’s.  Zhang/Zhao have only ever lost to Shin/Eom, Ahmad/Natsir, and Xu/Ma. The only pair that has beaten both Chinese powerhouses, Tontowi Ahmad /Lilyana Natsir (pictured), struggled against Hong Kong’s Lee/Chau before making their way to the quarter-finals in three games.

Click here for complete Round of 16 results

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 @