OLYMPICS / Other Teams

Germany's Schenk squanders match point in opening badminton

China Daily/ The Olympian
Updated: 2008-08-10 13:36


There was a minor upset in the opening badminton match of the Beijing Olympics Saturday.

Raul Must of Estonia kneels in disappointment after he was defeated by Przemyslaw Wacha of Poland 0-2 in the men's badminton singles August 9 2008. [China Daily]

Germany's Juliane Schenk, the women's world No 13, failed to capitalize on her match point in the rubber game, and was upset 21-18, 13-21, 20-22 by Maria Kristin Yulianti of Indonesia, who is seven spots lower in the world rankings.

Schenk, who serves in the German army, came out strongly to take the first game.

But Yulianti, who had beaten defending Olympic champion Zhang Ning in June's Indonesia Open Super Series, struck back to take game two.

Schenk then gave up match point at 20-19, missed a service return and one final rally to lose the final game, 20-22.

"I tried everything and it was close," said Schenk. "I was leading the second game and maybe took too many risks. I did not keep pushing into the four corners in the third game."

In another close match, Canada's Anna Rice kept her cool to defeat Eva Lee, the only US woman in the tournament, 21-15, 19-21, 21-19.

Rice looked in comfortable position until the middle of the second game, when Lee took 15 of the final 24 points to send the match into a third game.

Game three was a tight, nail-biting affair, but Rice kept her cool as Lee made two unforced errors at the end to finish the match.

Said Rice: "At the end there it was me against myself, in a way. I really had to just settle down and focus on working the rally, keeping the shuttle in play, letting her try too much.

"And at 19-all that's what she did, and it went out the side and then I knew it was mine."

In a clash between two of the youngest women's players in the tournament, Belarus' Olga Konon emerged triumphant against Singapore's Xing Aiying.

Konon, 19, younger than her opponent by three months, managed to defeat Xing in straight games, 21-19, 21-12.

The European Under-19 junior doubles champion told the Badminton World Federation's official website: "This is the first time I am playing in front of such a large crowd, and this win feels better than winning the European title.

"I am also grateful to the support from some of the fans who kept shouting out my name. There was another section that was cheering Xing and I tried to shut that out from my mind."

But the biggest cheers from the near-sellout crowd at the Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium came as Chinese Taipei's men's singles player Hsieh Yu-hsing crushed Iran's Kaveh Mehrabi, 21-16, 21-12.


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