Hong Kong pair eliminate top seeds in men's doubles shock

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 March, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong shuttlers pulled off a second major surprise at the All England championships in Birmingham yesterday with Albertus Njoto and Yohan Wiratama upsetting the world's top pair in men's doubles.

The Hong Kong duo overcame China's Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, who are also the top seeds at this event, 2-1 (24-22, 7-21, 21-18) in the second round.

'This is the first time in four encounters that they have beaten the mainland's top combination,' said Hong Kong coach Chan Chi-choi. 'The result will certainly lift their confidence as they have proved themselves against the world's top pair. It also comes as a timely boost to morale with the approach of the final stages of the Olympic qualification period.'

On Wednesday, Hong Kong's 2006 Asian Games silver medallist Yip Pui-yin knocked world number one Xie Xingfeng out of the tournament with a straight-sets victory in the opening round of the women's singles. Unfortunately Yip, who is still pursuing an Olympic berth, could not follow up on that success as she was eliminated yesterday by Hwang Hye-youn of South Korea 2-0.

And China's surprisingly poor results at the All England championships continued when Denmark's Tine Rasmussen eliminated number four seed Zhu Lin in the second round of women's singles. The mainland had also seen number two women's seed Zhang Ning ousted in the first round.

Njoto and Wiratama are ranked 18th in the world. As there will be just 16 teams at the Beijing Olympic Games, with a maximum of only two teams from one country allowed, the Hong Kong pair now stand a good chance of qualifying. Indonesia, Denmark and Malaysia have all got three teams in the top 16.


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