Group D favourites Korea were made to sweat by a spirited Canada before completing a 4-1 victory to qualify for the Uber Cup quarterfinals.
Despite the comfortable margin, the Koreans dropped at least a game in three of their following four matches after An Se Young’s 21-19 21-13 takedown of Michelle Li.
Canada’s first women’s pair of Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai looked headed for a win to level the tie after taking the first game 21-17 and leading the second 20-18 before Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong notched four straight points to force a rubber, which they won 21-14.
Wen Yu Zhang, the 19-year-old world No.77 then stunned world No.19 Kim Ga Eun 21-17 14-21 22-20 in the second women’s singles to put Canada’s maiden point on the board.
The meaning of her result was not lost on the teenager.
“We don’t train together and are players from different provinces coming together to form a group so being able to win a match at this stage is big. We don’t expect a lot, just giving our best every match,” she said.
Although Catherine Choi and Crystal Lai went down in 34 minutes to Jeong Na Eun/Kim Hye Jeong to hand the tie and a place in the last eight to Korea, it did not stop third singles Talia Ng from taking her higher-ranked opponent Sim Yu Jin to three games before conceding defeat.
World No.81 Ng, a year older than Wen, believes her showing against the 46th-ranked Sim puts her in good stead.
“When I was leading I thought ‘wow I got this, I can actually do this’,” she said.
“Asian players are a lot steadier and it’s hard to break their defence so this gives me more confidence and motivation to train harder to reach their level eventually.”
♦ Advancing with Korea to the next round are India, whose second pair Simran Singhi/Ritika Thaker gave away a point to Lauren Lam/Kodi Tang Lee in their 4-1 win.
♦ Group A heavyweights Japan and Indonesia also progressed unscathed with 5-0 results over France and Germany. They meet tomorrow to decide the group winners.