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Men's pair look ahead to next challenge

14 August 2016

BADMINTON: No sooner had their Olympic campaign ended than the badminton men’s doubles pair of Sawan Serasinghe and Matthew Chau had medals on their mind. Commonwealth Games medals.

“The next big event is the Commonwealth Games and hopefully we can bring back a medal for Australia,” Chau said.

Serasinghe and Chau lost their third pool match today, going down to the Taipei team of Sheng Mu Lee and Chia Hsin Tsai 14-21, 19-21. They sit in fourth position of their group of four and will not progress to the quarter-finals of the Olympic tournament.

It was a fierce battle in the second game especially when the Aussies came back from a 9-15 deficit to draw even at 16-16, and again at 18-18.

Serasinghe and Chau fired up, aggressively leading play, hitting repeated unreturnable smashes and pushing their opponents around the court.

However, the momentum swung quickly and after an error from the green and gold, Lee and Tsai took their opportunity to close the match.

“Consistency is probably the key that we need to work on as all the top pairs are really consistent,” Serasinghe said.

“No matter how much pressure they’re under the never get troubled they just keep playing and keep playing.”

Earlier in the round-robin style tournament the Aussie duo faced top seeded Malaysia, giving their all on centre court and challenging the respected team.

They eventually lost 14-20, 16-21, but took a lot away from the battle.

“We had some really good results, especially against the world number one so I think that’s a really good confidence booster for us to keep moving forward, especially with Commonwealth Games coming up,” Serasinghe said.

Chau, 21, and Serasinghe, 22, agreed their Olympic debut had been a good opportunity – and now they look forward to cheering on as many of their 422 teammates as possible.

“The Opening Ceremony was when it really hit home, the level of accomplishment it is to make the Australian Team,” Chau said.

In the women's singles, a powerhouse Hsuan Chen went down fighting to her agile competitor, Mauritius' Kate Foo Kune, in what could have easily become a three-game battle.

Chen was able to control much of play, pushinng Foo Kune to every corner of the court. However Foo Kune's persistence and precision at hitting lineball shots gave her the upper hand, eventually edging out Chen 21-16, 21-19. 

As with the men's pair, Chen will not progress to the next round, finishing third of three in her preliminary group after also losing to Thailand.

In the mixed doubles, Leanne Choo and Robin Middleton were unable to get a win on the board, losing 13-21, 18-21 to Thailand. With all eyes on them at Riocentro Pavilion 4, Choo and Middleton languished a 10-5 lead in the second game to Bodin Isara and Savitree Amitrapai, and then when the Thai duo had a comfortable lead of 20-15 the Aussies staged a late charge. But unfortunately it was not to be.

Their 13-21, 18-21 loss ended Australia's badminton campaign for the 2016 Olympics.

Candice Keller

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