Australia’s two badminton teams have rebounded strongly on day 2 of competition, defeating Combined Oceania and New Zealand.
It was not without some difficulty, with Oceania and New Zealand notching up a win each against the Australian teams before the Aussies closed out each tie 4-1.
The trans-Tasman feud made for some exciting badminton. New Zealanders Elliot Pike and Rayna Phillips, and Australians Cham Chen and Natasha Sharp were neck and neck in the first game of the mixed doubles. The Australians won the opening game by the closest possible margin, 21-19.
In the following game, the Aussies, particularly Chen, claimed their right to victory with a number of brilliant plays. After diving to return a well placed shot, he was left lying on the court when the shuttlecock came again in his direction, which he then successfully returned while still on the ground. Australia won the game by seven points.
The fierce competition between the Aussies and Kiwis continued in the men’s singles match between Hu-Wen Chew (AUS) and Dylan Soedjasa (NZL). It was the first three game match in the tournament. The score in the deciding game was 21-18 in Chew’s favour.
New Zealand was able to snag its first and only win of the competition so far in the men’s doubles, with Pike and Jacob Morgon winning a 21-18 third game, after coming close in the mixed doubles and the women’s singles.
Oceania’s competitiveness against Australia was the biggest shock of the semi-finals. Not only did Jennifer Tam force Verdet Kessler to a third game (which Kessler won convincingly), but they even claimed their first successful match of the competition, with a 21-10 second game victory to Remi Rossi, the number one player in Tahiti. Every other match was won by the Australian team.
In other semi-finals, China easily overcame Great Britain, while Malaysia had to work for their victory over Chinese Taipei.
The most exciting match of the day came in the men’s singles with Briton Alex Lane up against Chinese young gun Song Xue. Scores of 21-6 and 21-16 belied the true nature of the match. Both players displayed multiple follow up efforts, brilliant shots, and canny tactics. As was the case against Rossi yesterday, Xue was simply too good.
In an authoritative display, the Chinese team made a clean sweep of Team GB.
Malaysia defeated Chinese Taipei three matches to two. Strongly challenged in the men’s singles and beaten in the men’s doubles as well as the women’s singles, the Malaysians nevertheless managed to win narrowly.
China is now the only undefeated team going into the playoffs on Thursday afternoon.