Pictured: Oliver Leydon-Davis and Anona Pak (New Zealand) take on Tran Pham and Angela Yu (Australia)
This morning’s performance from Oceania representatives already betters the 2018 Commonwealth Games campaign, which saw two pairs into the quarterfinals across the individuals competition. Tran Pham and Jack Yu (men’s doubles), Wendy Chen (Australia) and Oliver Leydon-Davis and Anona Pak (New Zealand) have secured their spot in tomorrow’s quarterfinals.
Opening proceedings on day three of individual competition, Australia’s young pairing of Kaitlyn Ea and Angela Yu had to take on one of the most established pairs they have ever met in their careers. The world number 80 duo from Singapore, Yujia Jin and Jia Wong, have been regulars on the HSBC BWF World Tour over the past two years and today their experience proved too strong as they won in two games.
Yujia Jin/Jia Wong (SGP) vs Kaitlyn Ea/Angela Yu (AUS) 21-12 21-13
“It was tough, but a good match for us to aid our experience. They’re a lot faster and stronger and they have a consistent speed to follow up on every shot”, says Kaitlyn
“We just need to keep in the rally and make less mistakes. The court is even bigger this time and we’re getting tired, the energy is different from the start of the tournament so I need to focus on strong clears, drops and variation to get through our games later today”, says Angela
Meanwhile, Tran Pham and Jack Yu have found an impressive form over the past week. Firstly, they put on a highly respectable performance against India’s world number 7 duo, Chirag Shetty and B.Sumeeth Reddy in the teams competition and today they booked their spot in the men’s doubles quarterfinals following a comfortable victory against the Jamaicans.
Tran Pham/Jack Yu (AUS) vs Joel Angus/Sam Ricketts (JAM) 21-11 21-9
Making their first appearances on the show court, Australia’s Gronya Somerville and Lin Ying Xiang had a tough draw with the first seeds awaiting in the round of 16. Malaysia’s world number nine duo, Kian Meng Tan and Pei Jing Lai, brought a fierce pace to the game and outmaneuvered the Australians to get one step closer to their anticipated top podium spot.
Kian Meng Tan/Pei Jing Lai (MAS) vs Lin Ying Xiang/Gronya Somerville (AUS) 21-10 21-11
“That was both of our first times on show court as we didn’t play against Pakistan. The shuttles felt a bit faster today, more normal. I guess it’s different playing in front of such a big crowd with lots of cheering between some points but we just had to try and stay focused in rallies while that’s all going on. It’s great to have such a big crowd!”, says Gronya
“Overall it was ok. The shot quality and choices weren’t the best today. Some rallies we could keep up but sometimes I played the wrong shots. I was trying not to look at the crowd too much as I was just focused on the game”, says Lin
Oceania’s seven-time champion and this tournament’s seventh seed, Wendy Chen, was able to go one better than her 2018 Games campaign, where she bowed out in the round of 16. Today she was fast out the blocks and enjoyed long runs of points to ease past Jamaica’s Tahlia Richardson, securing a two-game victory to set up a quarterfinal clash with the fourth seed and world number 18, Yeo Jia Min of Singapore.
Wendy Chen (AUS) vs Tahlia Richardson (JAM) 21-11 21-11
“I felt a little bit agitated going out this morning as I probably had a bit too much coffee…I won’t be doing that tomorrow. I feel happy with that result, that’s what I came here for and that result was better than 2018. Aside from feeling agitated, I was able to experiment different things on the court so I was able to learn some things there”, says Wendy
Moreover, New Zealand’s Oliver Leydon-Davis and Anona Pak ensured that they live up to their eighth seeding as they overcame the challenge from Australia. The kiwis demonstrated a greater chemistry on court to set up a more compelling attack, leading throughout both games and securing a quarterfinals spot. Singaporean third seeds and world number 35 husband-and-wife duo, Terry Hee and Jessica Tan, await in tomorrow’s contest.
Oliver Leydon-Davis/Anona Pak (NZL) vs Tran Pham/Angela Yu (AUS) 21-12 21-15
“Yes I’m feeling good with that result. We knew that this match definitely could have been a challenge as they play well, so we tried to keep them out from the start and we did a pretty good job of that, other than the last six or seven points there. It was a little bit easier on those courts, it’s much faster and the audience isn’t as big. Tomorrow we will give it everything that we can”, says Oliver
“I’m feeling good, pumped in fact. I’ve been pumped up all morning so now I need some down time. It takes a while to recover, I think the key is food and napping to get ready for the next one. In tomorrow’s match they can change it up a lot so I guess we just need to expect the unexpected from them”, says Anona
“We were playing into their game too much, so we gave them too many shots. For myself and Angela, we haven’t had a lot of time to practice together so they were obviously some misunderstandings but I enjoyed playing with her and think she has a bright future ahead”, says Tran
“Overall, it was a great experience to play here in Birmingham. There’s a lot to take home from this and practice, mostly being able to stay in the rally and being more confident with your shots, particularly when the rallies are this long”, says Angela
More players from Australia are in contention for a quarterfinals spot in their respective disciplines during this evening’s session, which starts at 6pm local time (BST). Follow the draw and results here.