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Singapore doubles coach Chua concerned over draft

The New Paper | Sunday, Sep 28, 2014

Singapore's Danny Bawa Chrisnanta (right) and Vanessa Neo Yu Yan in action against Malaysia's Chan Peng Soon and Ng Hui Lin in the Mixed Doubles.

On paper, it is a no-contest between Singapore's mixed doubles pair Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo, and their Asian Games Round of 16 opponents Manu Attri and Sikki Reddy Nelakurthi today.

The Republic's tandem are 10th in the world, while the Indian couple are a lowly 183rd, and the Singaporeans won their only meeting so far - a 21-11, 17-21, 21-15 victory in the India Open in 2012.

But Singapore doubles coach Chua Yong Joo warned that today's match is not a mere formality.

"They (the Indian pair) won their match today (against a pair from Maldives) very easily, so we are not underestimating them at all," he told The New Paper yesterday.

Part of his cautious stance is due to the draft that shuttlers face in the Gyeyang Gymnasium.

"The draft came from the sides during the practice sessions before the tournament started, but it has been coming from (another direction) for the past two days," he said, echoing complaints from top players such as China's Li Xuerui and Chen Long, as well as South Korea's Son Wan Ho in recent days.

WINDY

The windy courts played a significant role in the second set of the Singaporeans' 21-15, 6-21, 21-15 win over Malaysia's Chan Peng Soon and Ng Hui Lin yesterday.

Chua said: "Our opponents may be a new pair, but individually they are still very good.

"The draft came into play when they switched sides in the second set, and our opponents also switched their strategy, which we didn't adapt to quickly enough.

"Our pair, especially Vanessa, also lost a bit of focus then, and the opponents built up quite a sizeable lead by the time we recovered."

He hopes that the problem will be rectified before today's match against the Indians, after a post-mortem with the shuttlers yesterday.

Singapore's other mixed doubles pair, Chayut Triyachart and Yao Lei, are also through to the Round of 16, after beating India's Akshay Delwalkar and Pradnya Gadre 22-20, 17-21, 21-13 yesterday.

But they will be up against it today, having been drawn against South Korea's world No. 6 pair Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na.

Chua said: "The main thing for them is to keep their cool and not be distracted by anything outside the court (such as the home crowd).

"The pressure will be on the South Koreans to deliver, so anything can happen if the opponents crack."

Also, Commonwealth Games men's singles silver-medallist Derek Wong (left) is through to the last 16 today after beating Pakistan's Muhammad Irfan Saeed Bhatti 21-5, 21-16 last night.

He will face Taiwan's world No. 13 Chou Tien-chen today.

It would have been a perfect day for Singapore on the badminton courts, if not for the men's doubles pair's Round of 16 loss.

Triyachart and Chrisnanta were bundled out after a 21-14, 21-15 defeat by South Korea's Kim Sa Rang and Kim Gi Jung.


This article was first published on September 26, 2014.
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