Badminton World Federation (BWF)

Hong Kong mixed doubles pair Tang and Tse face tough task but are guaranteed a medal at world badminton championships

Stylish pair from Sports Institute must play harder in Saturday’s semi-finals to have any chance of toppling top Chinese duo who will have partisan crowd behind them

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2018, 7:40pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 August, 2018, 10:47pm

Hong Kong’s mixed doubles pair Tang Chun-man and Tse Ying-suet are one step away from reaching the title match at the world championships after scoring an upset quarter-final victory in Nanjing on Friday – but they have a big task ahead of them.

Tang and Tse appear to be reaching their peak in the tournament as they matched another Hong Kong pair’s march last year when Lee Chun-hei and Chau Hoi-wah reached the last four. Lee and Chau had to retire during their second round match in this year’s event in Nanjing after Lee suffered an ankle injury.

But Tang and Tse seem to be going exceptionally well even though they needed three games before disposing of Malaysia’s Chang Peng-soon and Goh Liu-ying, the silver medallist at the Rio Olympics. Tang and Tse won 21-12, 11-21, 21-10 and coach Tim He Yiming praised his charges for turning out a solid performance despite having to battle with a slower shuttlecock probably due to condensation in the stadium.

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“The shuttlecock travels very slowly in the venue and it’s hard to control it on both sides of the court,” said the coach. “But our pair did exceptionally well in their attack and they were consistent. Chun-man slowed down a bit in the second game but he recovered quickly to help register victory in the third game.”

Buoyed by their latest success, Tang and Tse, last year’s Danish Open champions, will have to produce their finest if they are going to topple China’s Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping, the second seeds, and march towards the gold medal match. Tang and Tse are already guaranteed at least a bronze medal but they face a real test of their character against the in-form Wang and Huang.

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The mainlanders had no trouble overwhelming Britain’s husband and wife team of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock handing out a straight forward 21-13, 21-18 victory. China are dominating the mixed doubles event with two other Chinese pairs playing against each other in the another semi-final.

“The mainlanders will definitely be more difficult to beat than the Malaysian pair. We need to keep our focus and push the Chinese pair as hard as possible to have any chance of toppling them,” said the Hong Kong coach.

In women’s singles, China’s He Bingjiao pulled off the biggest surprise so far in the tournament when she stunned world number one, Tai Tzu-ying, of Taiwan, 21-18, 7-21, 21-13 in the quarter-finals. Tai, with four major tour titles this year including the All England Open crown, had set a women’s singles record by winning 31 straight victories on Thursday.

Tai had only lost to He once in six encounters but the Taiwanese committed far too many mistakes in the final game as her winning streak came to an end.

In men’s singles, China’s Shi Yuqi also reached the semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Chou Tien-chen, of Taiwan, in a match lasting 72 minutes.

Title holder Viktor Axelsen, of Denmark, meanwhile, was dumped out of the men’s singles quarter-finals by China’s Chen Long.

Olympic champion Chen will play Shi in an all-Chinese semi-final following his high-class and emphatic 21-19, 21-11 victory over Axelsen.

The hosts, however, suffered a major casualty in women’s doubles after top seeds and defending champions Jia Yifan and Chen Qingchen were beaten by Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu 23-21, 23-11.

The result meant it’s the first time China will not lift the women’s doubles crown at the Worlds after clinching 14 consecutive championships since 1997.