A Taiwanese teenager advanced to the quarter-finals of the women’s singles at the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships yesterday after taking down Juliane Schenk of Germany in straight sets.
In the first-ever matchup between the two, the 17-year-old Tai Tzu-ying knocked out the eighth seed 21-12, 21-11 at the Birmingham event, one of the world’s top five annual badminton tournaments. Tai, ranked 16th in the world, dominated the game in both sets, bagging victory over the 29-year-old in only 25 minutes.
The rising Taiwanese star will face Sung Ji-hyun of South Korea, who is ranked 11th in the world, in the next round. Tai is expected to move up one spot in the world rankings to a career high, after booking a place in the quarter-final. Since last June, Tai has defeated three of the world’s top four players: world No. 1 Wang Yihan of China, world No. 3 Wang Xin of China and India’s Saina Nehwal, ranked world No. 4.
Photo: Tsao Ming-cheng, Taipei Times
Meanwhile, Taiwanese pair Lee Sheng-mu and Fang Chieh-min battled through a 55-minute game yesterday before sending Danish duo Jonas Rasmussen and Mads Conrad-Petersen packing 21-15, 17-21, 21-11 to progress into the men’s doubles quarter-finals. The pair, currently ranked world No. 12, are focusing on the category in which they play best to earn more points in a bid to qualify for the upcoming London Olympic Games, Taiwan head coach Liao Kuo-mao said.
In the mixed doubles, Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork ousted fifth-seeded Taiwanese Chen Hung Ling and Cheng Wen Hsing 21-13, 21-13.
“We were at our top level there,” a delighted Robertson said. “We haven’t beaten them before.”
Taufik Hidayat rolled back the clock with a smart 21-19, 21-19 win over Chen Jin.
Hidayat pressed Chen at the net, making the taller Chinese star constantly lunge for drops then smash his clearances. In the entire 62-minute match, Chen led only once, and by a brief point near the end of the first game.
“Last year, I went from the top of the mountain to the bottom, my form was very bad,” Hidayat said. “I haven’t played like this for a long time.”
It was Hidayat’s first win over Chen in five years. The duo had not met since the 2010 worlds, when Chen beat Hidayat in a lopsided final in Paris.
Lin Dan eased past Malaysian qualifier Chong Wei Feng 21-13, 21-16, staying on course for a third final in four years with defending champion Lee Chong Wei.
Chong Wei won an entertaining second-round match 23-21, 21-18 with Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, patting his opponent’s head with his racket afterward as a compliment for the Dane’s unrelenting attitude in his first go at the No. 1 player in the world.
Also joining them were No. 3-seeded Chen Long, No. 7 Kenichi Tago and No. 8 Lee Hyun-il of South Korea for the first time since he went all the way to the final in 2006, plus first-timers Malaysian qualifier Liew Daren and Indonesian surprise Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka.
They helped to make up the first all-Asian men’s quarter-finals since 2005.
Chong Wei saved two game points before claiming the first game from the hustling Vittinghus. Vittinghus lost steam and Chong Wei rolled to 7-0 in the second game, but from 14-8 down, Vittinghus tied it at 15 and again at 18 and forced Chong Wei to up his play.
Chen Long outlasted Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam 19-21, 21-9, 21-16 as payback for beating him last month in Thomas Cup qualifying, and Tago won an all-Japanese contest with Kazushi Yamada 21-17, 21-14.
Rumbaka upset sixth-seeded Sho Sasaki of Japan easier than the 21-17, 21-17 scoreline indicated. It was Rumbaka’s best result since winning his home Indonesian Open last October.
On the women’s side, defending champion Wang Shixian was even more ruthless in her rematch of last year’s final with Eriko Hirose of Japan, winning 12 minutes faster and by 21-10, 21-19.
Top-seeded Wang Yihan stayed perfect against Liu Xin, beating her Chinese teammate 21-13, 21-12.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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