It took planning and perseverance for Chinese pair Zheng Bo/Ma Jin to overcome top seeds Nova Widianto/Lillyana Natsir of Indonesia in quarterfinals of the mixed doubles of the Yonex World Championship at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris.
And after the top seeds fell, it was the turn of the second seeded Thomas Laybourn/Kamilla Rytter of Denmark to bite the dust as they were sent packing by sixth seeds He Hanbin/Yu Yang of China 21-19, 21-17.
The Chinese pair, who are seeded eight, overcame all odds to beat the Indonesians 21-19,23-21 in a match that had plenty of drama and showcased badminton at its best.
They will take on South Korea’s Ko Song Hyun/Ha Jung Eun in the semifinals. The Koreans ousted the Indian pairing of V.Diju/Jwala Gutta 21-16.21-19 in another last eight clash.
But the Chinese too saw the exit of one of their more fancied pairs in the mixed doubles as Tao Jiaming/Zhang Yawen, who are the 10th seeds lost to Lee Sheng Mu/Chien Yu Chin of Chinese Taipei 14-21, 21-18, 17-21.
“We knew that we could beat them if we had a game plan and all credit to my partner Ma as she was good defensively,” said Zheng.
“We had planned for this match for quite some time and I am glad that it paid off and we look forward to the semi finals with confidence.”
For the Indonesians, they only had themselves to blame for losing as they held the upper hand early in the second set, leading 5-1 and 9-5 at one stage.
But they failed to seize the initiative and allowed the Chinese pair to surge ahead 17-15 before staging a late rally. With only one point separating them from taking the match into a decider, Nova’s serve failed to clear the net with the score 21-20 in their favour.
“We made too many mistakes and played very badly today. Our defensive play was loose and really we did not deserve to win,” conceded Nova.
Struggling with V. Diju’s sore back, the Indian mixed doubles team were no match for the Korean 12th seeds Sung Hyun Ko/Jung Eun.
It was apparent mid-way through the first game when Diju clutched his lower back that movement at the back court was painful for him. Still he managed to earn points but the errors piled on. Jwala Gutta did her bit at the net and once in a while played back court but couldn’t stem the aggression of the South Korean pair who used the smash and mid court placements to telling effect.
“It was a struggle,” said Jwala. “We knew we were in a strong position having beaten the same team before but with Diju struggling it was difficult to maintain a set momentum.”
“We knew we were the better team and it is very difficult to come to terms with this loss,” said Jwala. “Right after the match, Diju had to be rushed to the massage centre and I hope his back gets okay fast.”
Speaking on the team’s future plans, Jwala said, “Our aim is to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics and to do well there. We were very sure of a semi-final here but that’s the way sport is.”