Monday, May 21, 2018
TEXT BY GAYLE ALLEYNE | BADMINTONPHOTO
China’s men and Thailand’s women put a foot into the knockout phase of the TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2018 tonight, with their second successive wins respectively.
Competing in the night session at Impact Arena, the top-seeded Chinese crushed France 5-0 on the back of performances by a full-strength team that boast Chen Long, Shi Yuqi and Lin Dan in singles while Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan and Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen did the business in doubles. They all claimed victory in straight games, with the longest encounter being Chen’s 45-minute triumph over Brice Leverdez (21-17 21-5) in the Group A tie.
Thom Gicquel/Ronan Labar also offered some resistance versus the reigning Men’s Doubles World champions but there was only ever going to be one winner as Liu/Zhang kept ahead comfortably and controlled the proceedings in both games (21-15 21-16). A relaxed-looking Shi then took to the court with his nation 2-0 up and formalised the outcome, making light work of Lucas Corvee (21-9 21-12) who was the hero versus India yesterday.
“I played my usual game and I am happy with my performance. I have prepared well for this tournament and I want to win all my matches to get the points for my team in the Thomas Cup,” said the All England champion after just 29 minutes of work.
Also in Group A, India kept their hopes alive, sweeping past Australia without dropping any of the five matches – singles specialists HS Prannoy and B. Sai Praneeth charting the way for their lesser-experienced team-mates. However, to have any chance of advancing from the group stage, the Indians will have the daunting task of trying to oust China in the last group ties tomorrow night.
Meanwhile, in Uber Cup action, Thailand’s quest for success on home soil gathered momentum as Ratchanok Intanon and company cruised past Hong Kong. Having already dismissed Germany yesterday, tonight’s result entrenched the hosts atop Group B, with one tie remaining against Chinese Taipei. Intanon started the rout, regaining her composure in the middle of the second game to earn Thailand’s first point – 21-10 21-16 against Cheung Ngan Yi.
Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai then eased past Ng Wing Yung/Yeung Nga Ting, 21-14 21-14, in Women’s Doubles to put Thailand within touching distance of the quarter-finals. The ever-smiling Nitchaon Jindapol then had her say in the second Women’s Singles match, barely breaking a sweat in a 21-12 21-12 win over Cheung Ying Mei.
“I am accustomed to team events so I am not nervous. It’s great to play at home and hear the fans cheering. I like it a lot. Our team is very motivated to do well here. We want to get to the semi-finals,” said Jindapol as her team-mates Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai (featured image) began their match.
The second Women’s Doubles duo overcame Ng Tsz Yau/Poon Lok Yan, 21-12 21-10, and left third singles player, Busanan Ongbamrungphan, to cap the night – 21-14 21-14 versus Yeung Sum Yee.
Korea’s women also had a good evening, notching their second victory with a 5-0 success over Russia. That result put the No.3 seeds atop Group C with one round-robin match remaining against Denmark tomorrow to decide the group winner. Only Natalia Perminova was able to dent the Korean armour, seizing the second game against Lee Se Yeon. However, the second singles player rebounded to oust the Russian, 21-9 17-21 21-9.