Badminton campaign hits low flying start

Published 12 August 2016 (AEDT)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11: Sawan Serasinghe and Matthew Chau of Australia compete against Nan Zhang and Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon Seong of South Korea in the Mens Doubles on Day 6 of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Riocentro - Pavilion 4 on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. © 2016 Getty Images

BADMINTON: Australian men’s doubles pairing Matthew Chau and Sawan Serasinghe have lost their first pool match against number one seed Korea despite putting up a resilient fight.

Chau and Serasinghe lost to the powerhouse pair of Yong Dae Lee and Yeon Seong Yoo 14-21, 16-21.

The Aussies stayed close to the Koreans until about 14 points in to each game, at which point Lee and Yoo stormed home.

However, Chau and Serasinghe remained competitive, always striving for another point and trying to control the game by attacking.

“We knew it was going to be a hard match, but everything felt great and we had nothing to lose,” Serasinghe said.

“As a pair we’re quite good when we’re attacking, because we’re a left-right pair and a lot of pairs tend to be mostly right-right, so we have an advantage in that way.”

The duo even managed to take the lead momentarily in the second game, but that advantage was short lived.

Still, the opportunity to play the top seed in an Olympic tournament while wearing the green and gold was not lost on the duo.

“(Lee and Yoo are) a great pair, so solid defensively and that we can learn a lot from,” Chau said.

“Just their consistency and their ability to repeat point after point is something we need to be able to take from them and we need to be able to match them on.

“The Olympics is another level from anything else we’ve ever done, this far surpasses everything.”

Chau and Serasinghe now face the Russian pairing of Ivan Sozonov and Vladimir Ivanov, who won their first match of the tournament against the fourth team of Group A, Chinese Taipei.

Mixed doubles team Leanne Choo and Robin Middleton had a less favourable start to their round-robin competition, being defeated by Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia 7-21, 8-21. Natsir is a World Championship gold medallist in mixed doubles (2013, 2007 and 2005) and paired with Ahmad - proved far too strong, dominating court play and forcing errors from the Australian team.

Choo and Middleton are yet to face Malaysia and Thailand in their group.

Women's singles player Hsuan Chen lost her opening match to 12th seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand. The Thai national dominated the first game, closing at 14-21 and although Chen had the lead at 15-13 in the second, Buranaprasertsuk flew home to defeat Chen 15-21 in the second. Chen's next pool match is against Kate Foo Kune of Mauritius on Saturday 13 August.

Candice Keller

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