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OLYMPICS: Taiwan wins opening women's doubles in badminton event

2012/07/29 16:12:06

London, July 28 (CNA) Taiwan's Cheng Wen-hsing and Chien Yu-chin needed a comeback to beat a tough Singaporean duo in their Group B opener in the Olympic badminton women's doubles event Saturday.

Cheng and Chien, currently ranked 10th in the world, edged past 13th ranked Shinta Mulia Sari and Lei Yao of Singapore 18-21, 21-15, 21-15 in a 52-minute battle, completing a sweep of three wins for Taiwan on the opening day of the Olympic badminton competition.

Taiwan's national team coach Liao Kuo-mao cautioned, however, that there was no reason to celebrate the wins because the badminton tournaments are still in their early stages.

Unlike most badminton tournaments which are strictly elimination draws, the Olympic badminton events feature a preliminary round in which players are divided in groups.

In the doubles events, 16-team fields are divided into four groups of four, with the top two in each group after round-robin play advancing to the eight-team elimination round.

Cheng and Chien, ranked No. 1 in the world as recently as April 2011, got a relatively favorable group draw, being pooled with world No. 5 Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa of Japan, world No. 20 Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa of India and the Singaporeans.

They appeared out of sorts, however, at the start of their match against Sari and Yao before settling themselves down to secure the win.

Chien admitted afterwards she was afraid of losing after failing to take the first game against the Singaporeans.

Cheng was upset with herself over the team's rough start because she expected to be able to get into the match quickly after having won a mixed doubles match earlier in the day.

"I made too many mistakes at the beginning," Cheng said.

The Taiwanese women's doubles duo next face Gutta and Ponnappa in Group B play on Monday. A win would likely guarantee them entry into the elimination round.

Cheng and Chien, who were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the women's doubles in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, will want to win Group B, because the second-place finisher in the group will likely face world No. 2 Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei of China in the quarterfinals in London.

But when asked if that was their goal, Cheng said they weren't thinking that far ahead and were simply taking the tournament one match at a time.

(By Lung Po-an and Nell Shen)
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