ANAHEIM (California), Aug 19: Both top women’s seeds from China survived third-round scares before rallying to beat their opponents at the world badminton championships on Thursday. Reigning Olympic and world champion Zhang Ning advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Hong Kong’s Yip Pui-yin 4-11, 11-3, 11-4.
Top seeded Zhang needed 35 minutes to dispatch the 18-year-old Yip in women’s singles and move on to face 12th-seeded Kaori Mori of Japan.
Yip, who is ranked 77th in the world, jumped out to a surprising 8-1 lead in the first game before yielding three points to Zhang and eventually winning 11-4.
After losing the first game, Zhang started to show the form that won her a gold in Athens as she won eight consecutive points to seize control. Zhang cruised in the third game taking a quick 8-4 lead before closing it out.
Zhang’s biggest rival is Chinese second seed Xie Xingfang, who had to outlast Indonesian-born Dutch Mia Audina Tjiptawan. Xie, 24, beat the Olympic silver medallist 11-4, 11-13, 11-8 to reach the quarter-finals.
It was the first meeting between Audina Tjiptawan, one of the few shuttlers to have won Olympic medals with two different nations, and Xie, who next plays either English seventh seed Tracey Hallam or New Zealand’s Rebecca Bellingham.
Zhang blamed the wind on the courts for her first-game demise. She is seeking to become the fifth world champion from China in the past 10 years. The 30-year-old Zhang is one of the veterans of the Chinese team. Most Chinese women quit the sport in their mid-20s but she is still going strong.
In men’s singles, second seed Kenneth Jonassen of Denmark overpowered England’s Aamir Ghaffer 15-2, 15-4.
Other seeded men in action on Thursday include world number one Lin Dan, who is the boyfriend of Xie, third seed Peter Gade and Chinese fourth seed Bao Chunlai.
Seventh-seeded Chen Hong of China squares off with Hong Kong ninth seed Ng Wei in what should prove to be a close contest.
Men’s singles (third round)
Lin Dan (CHN) bt Shoji Sato (JPN) 15-8, 9-15, 15-5; Kenneth Jonassen (Den) bt Aamir Ghaffer (ENG) 15-2, 15-4; Peter Gade (DEN) bt Sony Dwi Kuncoro (INA) 15-11, 15-10; Bao Chunlai (CHN) bt Wong Choong Hann (MAS) 15-6, 15-12; Lee Chong Wei (MAS) bt Bjoern Joppien (GER) 15-4, 15-3; Taufik Hidayat (INA) bt Boonsak Ponsana (THA) 15-9, 15-17, 15-10; Chen Hong (CH) bt Ng Wei (HKG) 15-7, 14-17, 15-3; Lee Hyun Ii (KOR) bt Mohammad Hafiz Hashim (MAS) 15-11, 15-5
Women’s singles (third round)
Zhang Ning (CHN) bt Yip Pui-yin (HKG) 4-11, 11-3, 11-4; Xie Xingfang (CHN) bt Mia Audina Tjiptawan (NED) 11-4, 11-13, 11-8; Pi Hongyan (FRA) bt Li Li (SIN) 13-12, 11-8; Wang Chen (HKG) bt Eriko Hirose (JPN) 11-1, 11-0; Kaori Mori (JPN) bt Yao Jie (NED) 11-3, 11-13, 11-8; Xu Huaiwen (GER) bt Salakjit Ponsana (THA) 11-5, 13-12; Tracey Hallam (ENG) bt Rebecca Bellingham (NZL) 11-7, 13-10; Cheng Shao-Chieh (TPE) bt Juliane Schenk (GER) 11-3, 11-8.—AFP