Olympic Wrap Up - Day 3

Written by  Aaron Wong Tuesday, 31 July 2012 08:40

On the morning that Britain's Princess Anne came to watch Olympics badminton, Australia's Victoria Na in her Olympic debut carved out a straight sets victory against Monika Fasungova of Slovakia 21-12, 21-18 in the women's singles. Na needs to triumph over the thirteenth seed Gu Juan from Singapore in her next match in order to progress into the Round of 16 and further beyond the group stage to potentially meet World Championship silver medallist Cheng Shao Chieh of Taiwan.

Australia's men's doubles Glenn Warfe / Ross Smith, unfortunately, fell to the German pair of Ingo Kindervarter / Johannes Schoettler, 21-13, 21-14, after leading their opponents in the first half of both games.

"..the Europeans have a lot of exposures to international tournaments (more than us). All the games were tough and good experiences for us", said Ross Smith.

Sri Lanka's Niluka Karunaratne caused the upset of the Day 3 by not only downing the 8th seed Kenichi Tago of Japan, but in emphatic straight sets fashion 21-18, 21-16.

The exciting young world number nineteen Thais Maneepong Jongjit / Bodin Isara who had so far in the tournament beaten the fourth and sixth best pairs from Korea and Indonesia respectively were stretched into a deciding game today by the Polish team ranked two spots below them. Michal Logosz suffered a heartbreaking achilles tendon injury at the business end of the match when diving for a dropshot and had to retire.

"I hope he will be fine. The Europeans kept the shuttle low, their drives were very low. We were not used to that style of play", remarked his Thai opponent Maneepong Jongjit.

The world number thirty-five ranked Australian ladies unexpectedly also matched their world number three adversaries from Korea Ha Jung Eun / Kim Min Jung. Leanne Choo / Renuga Veeran wiped aside a terrible start to lead Ha/Kim in the second game all the way up to the 18 points mark through clever use of cross court angles, staying in the rallies, and attacking at every opportunity. But the experience of the Koreans and their harder hitting enabled them to overtake the Australians in the final moments and they won 21-7, 21-19.

Choo was unavailable for comment right after the match, looking emotionally overwhelmed by having fought so hard and so close and being the one not able to save the last shot.

"It took us a while to warm up to that level. It's the second time we played them this year and a better performance from us. We just couldn't break away after achieving the two points lead and only managed to keep it for as long as we could."

Intense opening games in doubles were the order of the third night of competition. More seeded Koreans were added to today's casualty list. Adding to the eighth seed Sung Ji Hyun in the women's singles during the afternoon session, Ko Sung Hyun / Yoo Yeon Seong were also bundled out of both their group and Olympic men's doubles contention

The Koreans won five consecutive points to gain a handy lead late in the first game but it was quickly erased by Indonesia's Bona Septano / Mohammad Ahsan. Nevertheless, Ko/Yoo still earn the first game point but eventually lost 22-24 not in being unable to retrieve the smash returns but sending their reply long of the backline.

In the second game, Ko/Yoo appeared bereft of a better plan than defending and would never come back from their slow start, losing 12-21.

It was a match of furious exchanges and abundance of athleticism especially on the part of Ahsan who smashed a lot while still jumping backwards, refusing to give up the offensive advantage once his team gained possession of it. The world number six Indonesians in disposing their world ranked fourth opponents live to fight another day as a result of placing second in Group B.

"Our opponents were really good, but we did not perform well that is why we failed to qualify.", explained Yoo Yeon Seong.

"We have a 0-4 loss record against the Koreans and we're very happy that we got our first win against Ko/Yoo in this very important do-or-die match", said Mohammad Ahsan of the result.

A minor upset also occurred in Group B of the women's doubles too when world number sixteen Jwala Gutta / Ashwini Ponnappa silenced the world number ten pair from Taiwan in three games 25-23, 16-21, 21-18.

Unlike Lee Chong Wei's the first appearance of Denmark's Peter Gade at these Olympics was a straightforward affair. Being the top ranked European on the circuit and a pioneer in the European style of play, he breezed past Portugal's Pedro Martin 21-14, 21-8.

World number two Lee of Malaysia needed to weather the storm of heavy smashes raining down from Finland's Ville Lang's racquet. The Malaysian was brave to move forward into some of the smashes to take them early but it would be his own angled smashes in reply to Lang's that would do more damage. The two men gave the crowd what they felt was the best singles match of the night, 21-8, 14-21, 21-11 in favour of the Malaysian.

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