OLYMPICS Day 4 – Asian mixed secure all semi spots

The evening session of the 4th day of the badminton event in Rio proved once again that Asian badminton is on top of the mixed doubles event. Xu Chen and […]

The evening session of the 4th day of the badminton event in Rio proved once again that Asian badminton is on top of the mixed doubles event. Xu Chen and Ma Jin created the upset of the day by beating second seeds Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na.

By Raphael Sachetat. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

After the exit of Europe’s favourite pairs of Adcock/Adcock and Fischer-Nielsen/Pedersen, all hopes relied on Polish veterans Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba in the mixed doubles event. The Poles tried their best but were outplayed by Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying, who seem to play better and better as competition goes on.  The Malaysians took it with a clean 21-17, 21-10 success.

This quick loss will probably sound even more bitter for the Adcocks, who expressed their disappointment on their Facebook page this morning: “We are both absolutely gutted about the result yesterday but mostly about the chances that we gave ourselves to progress without taking them here in Rio. When the draw was first made, we knew it would be a very hard fought group where anything could happen. With that said we were as ready and prepared as we could of been & excited by the challenge and we think that showed. To have match points in each of the 3 group games proved to us that we had the potential to do some damage in the tournament. However it just wasn’t to be, we didn’t take the chances we had earnt and we were punished for that.”

Chan and Goh will play China’s Xu Chen and Ma Jin. The Chinese, who have slowly been improving so far this season, played above par for their quarter-final match against Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na. After four straight losses to the Koreans, Xu and Ma had broken the spell in Indonesia a few weeks ago with a hard fought 3-game victory. This time, it took only two games, 21-17, 21-18 to make their mark and qualify a second Chinese pair for the semis – shortly after their compatriots Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei made light work of Japan’s Kazuno/Kurihara. The reigning Olympic champions will now take on Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, who beat their compatriots Jordan/Susanto in straight games as well.

Linda makes her way into knockout draw

Bulgaria’s Linda Zetchiri was the sensation of the evening when she beat 11th seed Kirsty Gilmour in three games. In one of the most difficult groups, the two European shuttlers were battling for the only qualifying spot, both having beaten Sabrina Jaquet in similar ways. It took one hour and eight minutes to see a winner.

Gilmour had taken an early 21-12 lead, but Zetchiri’s fighting spirit proved lethal in the second and third games, 21-17, 21-16. Great Britain will now rely on its men’s squad as Ouseph and the duo of Langridge/Ellis are the only ones left in the competition.

Tai Tzu Ying and Portnip Buranaprasertsuk advanced to the knockout stage with easy victories as well.  The 29-year-old Zetchiri is playing in her first Olympic Games but as a seasoned veteran, she has recorded victories over both Sung Ji Hyun and Carolina Marin, her first two obstacles in the knockout round.

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Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.