Friday, August 23, 2019
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTON PHOTO
Du and Li’s riveting 23-25 21-18 25-23 victory was at the expense of Olympic champions Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi and was achieved after saving three match points.
The match was on a knife edge all through the third game, and with Li suffering cramps, the Japanese appeared to have the upper hand. However, the Chinese never let up the pressure on their opponents. They benefitted from slices of luck too; Takahashi served into the net on a match point, and blew a kill to keep the Chinese in the hunt.
However, the session wasn’t China’s all the way. In another tense women’s doubles tug-of-war, Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu stopped 2017 champions Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan in 68 minutes, 25-23 23-21.
Du and Li will play second seeds Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota, while Polii/Rahayu await the winners of the all-Japanese quarterfinal between Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara and Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto.
Hoki/Kobayashi Strike Big
“We stayed cool during the whole match and kept our speed and rhythm. To win yesterday also was a confidence boost; it’s just amazing that we won a medal, we hope we can go on,” said Hoki.
No Stopping Zheng/Huang
Mixed doubles defending champions Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong continued to motor on merrily towards the title as they dismissed the challenge of seventh seeds Seo Seung Jae/Chae YuJung 23-21 21-10. Up next will be third seeds Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino, who recovered after a first game loss to Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying, 18-21 21-12 21-11.
Men’s singles defending champion Kento Momota had some trouble early on against Lee Zii Jia, but took off after the first game interval and countered everything that Lee threw his way. The Malaysian appeared dispirited after leaking points in the opening game and Momota pocketed the match in just 37 minutes, 21-12 21-8. Momota faces Sai Praneet in the semifinals tomorrow.
“We’ve been a couple of matches like this. Finally, thank God, we could win. We were so nervous in the beginning. We tried to remind each other that we have to take the second game. We tried to keep our energy up.” – Greysia Polii.