AUSTRALIAN OPEN QF – Finding that little bit extra

In doubles, at a baseline level the pair needs to be reliable and then have something special on top of that to make it further. By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent […]

In doubles, at a baseline level the pair needs to be reliable and then have something special on top of that to make it further.

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Sydney.  Photos: Badminton Oceania

Liu Yu Chen / Ou Xuan Yi bt Lee Yang / Wang Chi-Lin 22-20, 25-23
Ong Yew Sin / Teo Ee Yi vs Kang Min Hyuk / Seo Seung Jae 23-21, 21-12

In the first meeting between three quarters of the men’s Tokyo Olympic finalists since that day, the reigning gold medallists were thwarted by technology.

A shoe malfunction while 17-13 up in the second game for Wang Chi-Lin stopped the momentum shifting his way. It was a model of shoe that uses a dial and wires for tightening instead of shoelaces.

It was amusing for spectators and there were quite a few minutes for the process of explaining it to the umpire, who in turn needed the referee to understand the delay, and only then were teammates approved to go about finding replacement shoes. That’s an eternity in badminton time.

Causing more amusement was Wang eventually opting to play with one “new” shoe and one “old” shoe.

Luck is what Liu/Ou had as their final slow shot hit the tape of the net and dribbled over. There was absolutely nothing Wang could do despite guarding that spot.

Different nationalities in the crowd make their voices heard in different years, and local Malay Malaysian and Chinese Malaysian fans were the loudest mass on quarterfinals day which no doubt made it feel almost like playing on home ground for world #8 Ong/Teo who are performing exceptionally well as independent players.

Kang/Seo couldn’t produce something more than the sum of their parts which accounts for why the scores were close initially but a significant gap appeared later.

Lee Chia Hsin / Teng Chun Hsun beat Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara 22-20, 21-18
Zhang Shu Xian / Zheng Yu beat Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota 14/21, 22-20, 21-16

On the women’s side, the Japanese second and third seeds were sent packing.

The knowing experience, expertise, and calm demonstrated by Chinese Taipei’s Lee Chia Hsin helped her side overcome twice former World Champion opponents Matsumoto/Nagahara.

Lee, who has been a triple threat at this level of the sport, brought to the table all the salient qualities of every discipline she’s even though her front court mixed prowess was depended on quite obviously.

Her partner Teng Chun Hsun was also dependable at producing unflashy yet solid support.

Again at this tournament, this Japanese pair weren’t able to supply a creative edge which is usually instigated by Matsumoto. All their high quality automatic drilled responses weren’t enough to deter their unheralded opponents who had assessed exactly that.

Sixth seeded Zheng Yu is the player possessing the special edge in her combination. Her signature steep dropshots as well as more powerful smashes than others didn’t appear until after the first game which is a big reason it took 84 minutes to wrap-up the match.

Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja / Dejan Ferdinansyah beat Misaki Matsutomo / Yuki Kaneko 20-22, 21-19, 21-17

22 year old Dejan was the most grateful player of the day during the moment of winning his mixed encounter.

There was a lot of smart play on offer by the Japanese which is necessary because they need to make up for neither of them possessing the god given gifts of extra height or smashing power. One aspect they haven’t mastered yet in their combination is one of them imposing the tactical overview for their side.

By contrast, the tall Widjaja was decisive and able to end points whenever she spotted her opportunities to intercept in the front court.

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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 @