Badminton Life

Japanese Pair Upset Chinese Top Seeds

The Japanese doubles women's doubles pairing of Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna scored one of the biggest upsets of the Olympic badminton tournament so far when they sent the top seeds from China tumbling out of the tournament.

The Japanese duo needed 65 minutes to get the better of China's gold medal favourites Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen 8-21, 23-21, 21-14.

Maeda and Suetsuna, who are only Japan's second pair, are coached by South Korean Park Joo-bong, who was a world-class doubles player in his prime and won doubles gold at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

They had already achieved their coach's target of reaching the quarter-finals when they beat Australia's Tanja Luiz and Eugenia Tanaka 21-4, 21-8 in their opening match.

They then went one better against the Chinese, who were overwhelming favourites. Indeed, Yang and Zhang showed that it may be one-way traffic as they stormed to a 21-8 first-game victory.

However, the Japanese pair composed themselves for the second game, managing to squeeze out a 23-21 decision.

That seemed to take the fight out of the Chinese, who fell 21-14 in the decider to allow the Japanese pair to go through to the semi-finals.

Their victory already equalled Japan's performance of four years ago in Athens when Kaori Mori, in the women's singles, was the only Japanese player from a team of 11 who won a match.

Also expected to reach the semi-finals are the South Korean pair of Lee Hyo-jung and Lee Kyung-won.

They won their opening-round match 21-14, 21-19 against Malaysia's Chin Eei Hui and Wong Pei Tty.

Their quarter-final opponents were Singapore's Jiang Yanmei and Li Yujia, who defeated the American pairing of Eva Lee and Mesinee Mangkalakiri 21-12, 12-12.

The second seeded pair are Du Jing and Yu Yang, of China. But they were to face Japan's leading teamof Kumiko Ogura and Reiko Shiota in their quarter-final clash.

Du and Yu reached the last eight thanks to a 21-11, 16-21, 21-15 victory over South Korea's Ha Jungeun and Kim Minjung.

Ogura and Shiota overcome a difficult clash against Denmark's Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Lena Frier Kristainsen 18-21, 21-14, 21-18.

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