Chinese pairs cruise to badminton mixed doubles semifinals, world No. 1 Momota knocked out

Source: Xinhua| 2021-07-29 00:13:30|Editor: huaxia

TOKYO, July 28 (Xinhua) -- China's top-seeded shuttlers Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong and second seeds Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping cruised through to the badminton mixed doubles semifinals here on Wednesday, both remaining undefeated so far at the Tokyo Olympics.

World No. 3 Wang and Huang beat South Korea's No. 6 Seo Sung-jae and Chae Yu-jung 21-9, 21-16. In an earlier encounter Monday with Zheng/Huang, the South Korean pair was defeated in straight games.

Wang said that in the first half of the second game when the Chinese duo fell behind, they encouraged each other and tried to claw back from keeping losing points, in particular to score more points with strong serves.

"We remained cool-headed when lagging behind, and this was a good experience for our next games to play," Huang said. "I suppose we played each game better than in the previous one," she added.

Wang and Huang clinched three wins out of three in the previous group play phase. The Chinese pair will meet Japan's No. 5 Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino on Thursday in the semifinals.

The South Koreans saw the loss as a great pity. "We really wanted to reach the semifinals and in particular we were the first South Korean pair to play in the quarterfinals, so we hoped we could show good performance," Seo said after the loss. "It was a pity that we didn't do it well."

Mixed doubles top seeds Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong also eased into semifinals after beating world No. 4 Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti of Indonesia 2-0.

World No. 1 Zheng and Huang kicked off in an overwhelming fashion, taking a 21-17 first game. The powerful duo continued to dominate in the second, snatching a 21-15 win at ease. The overwhelming two-time world champions earned a three-match winning streak to earn a spot in quarterfinals.

In one of the biggest upsets of the day, men's singles world No. 1 Kento Momota from Japan was knocked out by South Korean dark horse Heo Kwang-hee in the group play round, failing to progress to the last 16.

World No. 38 Heo stunned all by defeating top seed Momota 21-15, 21-19, who was considered a gold favorite.

"My condition was fine. I was just not good enough tonight," Momota said after the loss, denying that he has any injury currently.

"I had so much support from everyone and a lot of people expected me to win, but I didn't make it tonight. I am very sorry for them," he said.

Heo attributed his surprising victory to good mentality. "I rank much lower than Momota, so I have nothing to lose. I thought I should give it a shot and fight for a win, " he said, adding Momota didn't do very well in defense today.

Heo, ranking first in group A, will advance directly to the quarterfinals. "I hope I can go through to the finals, but I still need to fight one match after another and learn from the process," he said. Enditem

KEY WORDS: Sports,Olympics,Badminton