Thursday, May 25, 2017
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
Singapore emerged on top of sub-group 2B after overcoming Australia 4-1 at the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017 in Gold Coast today.
Singapore will next take on sub-group 2A winners Vietnam to decide the winners of Group 2 (overall 13th place).
The hosts were expected to trouble Singapore but it all unraveled for Australia early in the second game of their opening Mixed Doubles contest.
Sawan Serasinghe and Setyana Mapasa had stayed in sight of Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han, but after 11-all in the first, the Singaporeans forged ahead. The second game began nightmarishly for Serasinghe and Mapasa as they just couldn’t get a thing right. Errors flowed from their rackets and Hee/Tan ran away with 14 of 15 points to effectively shut the door on the Australians: 21-16 21-6.
Ryan Ng made it 2-0 for Singapore with a comfortable 21-16 21-14 result over Ashwant Gobinathan in their Men’s Singles.
“The shuttle is pretty slow; I’m an aggressive player so I had to play patiently today,” said Ng. “I had to make sure I didn’t rush my shots. I’ve seen him play, he’s a good player; it was about taking one point at a time. I’m looking forward to playing Vietnam; to play (Nguyen) Tien Minh will be a good experience.”
Serasinghe returned with Matthew Chau for the Men’s Doubles against Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Terry Hee.
The Australians struggled in the beginning but finally made their presence felt with some consistent and sharp play in the second. They fought off a 15-18 deficit with four straight points, but they couldn’t capitalise on the opportunity with the game in their grasp. Chrisnanta and Terry Hee converted their second match point: 21-14 23-21.
“We didn’t get the best start, but we did manage to pull it back in the end,” said Serasinghe. “It was the minor little errors and shot choices that made the difference.”
“(In the first match) We started well, everything went perfect, but when Terry came and increased the pace a bit, we started making errors and we were unable to get ourselves back. The coach told me he would give me ten minutes to vent it out, but that I had to focus on Men’s Doubles after that.
“We definitely wanted to create an upset and make the crowd proud, and hopefully get a win against Singapore. Overall it’s been good, everyone played well, I’m fairly happy but disappointed at the same time.”
Yeo Jia Min (featured image) continued Singapore’s dominance, shutting out Wendy Chen 21-11 21-17 in Women’s Singles before Gronya Somerville and Setyana Mapasa picked up the consolation win for Australia beating Ong Ren-Ne/Crystal Wong 21-11 21-15.
Sri Lanka Win Group 3
Sri Lanka comfortably finished on top of Group 3 beating Macau 3-0, ensuring they finished overall 21st.
Buwenaka Goonathileka and Kavindi Ishandika Sirimannage gave Sri Lanka the lead in Mixed Doubles, easing past Iek U Leong/Gong Xue Xin 21-10 21-4.
Niluka Karunaratne was challenged in the first game of Men’s Singles by Pui Pang Fong, but the challenge fell apart in the second, 21-17 21-6.
Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa needed just 21 minutes to blow away Ng Weng Chi, 21-9 21-7.
“Group 3 was quite easy for us,” said Karunaratne, who is back in Sri Lanka after a long stint in the German league. “It would’ve been nice to play Group 2. But to go back as winners of Group 3 feels good.
“There’s a bunch of our players who can do well internationally… there are plans for a comprehensive training programme that will hopefully start in a few months. Badminton became popular in Sri Lanka after the London Olympics. It’s the most popular game in Sri Lanka after cricket and there are a lot of talented players who need the experience of top level badminton. We have to follow India’s example. India is at a different level now, they’re doing great. If we can learn from them and develop, it will be good for all of us.”
In other Group 3 ties to decide placings, Fiji beat Guam 3-1 while Slovakia got the better of New Caledonia 3-0. Slovakia finished third in the group (overall 23rd) while Fiji finished fifth, ahead of Guam and New Caledonia.