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Badminton: Top seeds Xu, Ma survive Danish assault in BWF World Champs

Xu Chen smashes a winner during a tough second-round encounter.

Xu Chen smashes a winner during a tough second-round encounter.

August 6, 2013: Top seeds Xu Chen and Ma Jin showed signs of nerves as they came from behind to beat Danish pair Mads Pieler Kolding and Kamilla Rytter Juhl 2-1 (18-21, 21-17, 21-13) in the second round of the mixed doubles at the BWF World Championships in Guangzhou, China.

 

The Chinese duo, silver medallists at last year’s Olympics and bronze medallists in the last World Championships in 2011 in London, found themselves in a tough battle from the start.

 

Ma Jin (left) consoles Xu, who struggled for form.

Ma Jin (left) consoles Xu, who struggled for form.

Xu, 28, was struggling with inconsistency and confidence, forcing Ma, 25, to play the role of mentor as she tried to calm and coax her more experienced partner, which only inspired the in-form Danes.

 

The Danes led for most of the game and eventually won 21-18 – with Xu serving another fault – to the surprise of the home supporters at the Tianhe Sports Center.

 

“We saw that Chen was nervous,” Juhl admitted. “We could see it in his eyes. That was a good sign for us.”

 

The Chinese team fought back to win another tight encounter in the second game, 21-17, although Xu was still far from his best.

 

The third game was just as tight as the first two, with the teams staying within one or two points of each other until 11-11.

 

IMG_7898aLOWHowever, Xu gradually found his confidence and form in the third, motivating himself with a series of smash winners, and the Chinese pair reeled off a series of points to win 21-13.

 

Ma is seeking a fourth medal in the World Championships after winning gold in the mixed and silver in the women’s doubles in 2010, and partnering Xu to bronze in the mixed the following year.

 

The top seeds will next face compatriots Tao Jiaming and Tang Jinhua in the third round for a place in the quarter-finals. Tao and Tang caused a minor upset by beating compatriots Qiu Zhihan and Bao Yixin, the 15th seeds, 21-16, 21-19.

 

However, there was a bigger upset when Korean duo Kim Ki-jung and Jung Kyung-eun knocked out fifth seeds Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia, winning 21-18, 21-19.

 

A number of lower seeds were also eliminated. Hong Kong’s Lee Chun-hei and Chau Hoi-wah beat Indonesian ninth seeds Fran Kurniawan and Shendy Puspa Irawati 21-18, 21-17.

 

Japan’s Kenichi Hayakawa and Misaki Matsumoto beat 13th seeds Anders Kristiansen and Julie Houmann of Denmark, 21-7, 21-19.

 

Chinese Taipei’s Chen Hung-ling and Cheng Wen-hsing won 21-18, 21-16 against England’s Chris Adcock and Gabrielle White, the 16th seeds.

 

Second seeds Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, who beat Xu and Ma in last year’s Olympic final, were playing in the final televised match of the day and beat Switzerland’s Anthony Dumartheray and Sabrina Jaquet, 21-11, 21-15. Zhang and Zhao will next face Indonesia’s Riky Widianto and Puspita Richi Dili, the 10th seeds.

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