Angela Yu enjoyed back-to-back success in the opening rounds of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this morning, giving her even more opportunities to adapt to the supposedly difficult hall conditions. A straightforward mixed doubles game was followed by a closer contest in the women’s doubles, where she teamed up with Kaitlyn Ea who she won the VICTOR Oceania Junior Championships title with in 2019.
Tran Phan/Angela Yu (AUS) vs Dwight Joshua/Soraya March (FLK) 21-2 21-5
Angela Yu/Kaitlyn Ea (A vs 🇫🇰 Nabeeha Abdul/Nabaaha Abdul (MDV) 21-13 21-15
“In the mixed, it was easier to play as there weren’t that many long rallies, so in the women’s doubles it took a bit of getting used to clearing the shuttle on one side as it was very different to the other. Once we figured that out in the middle of the game it was ok”, says Angela
“I’m feeling a bit more confident playing out there, it’s a bit different to the show court. The environment and the drift are quite different from the show court, which is the court I prefer”, says Kaitlyn
Still delighted by their thrilling win against India’s world number 39 duo in Sunday’s mixed team campaign, Gronya Somerville and Wendy Chen opened their women’s doubles campaign with a comfortable win against Pakistan’s Shahzad and Siddique.
Wendy Chen/Gronya Somerville (AUS) vs Mahoor Shahzad/Ghazala Siddique (PAK) 21-10 21-13
Meanwhile, Nathan Tang got to perform live in front of his parents for the first time on the biggest stage possible at this year’s Games – show court. Donning yellow and green to support, they were treated to a spectacle in the first round of the men’s singles. While Nathan played a relatively calm and collected game to win in two, his opponent also won over the crowd with a series of dives and cartwheels to retrieve the shuttle, making for some highly entertaining rallies.
Nathan Tang (AUS) vs Sammy Sikoyo (KEN) 21-10 21-13
Interview with Gronya, Wendy and Nathan
It was a similar story in the afternoon as Gronya and Lin Ying Xiang added to the winning tallies. The pair opened proceedings and made light work of their match against a pair from the Falkland Islands.
Lin Ying Xiang/Gronya Somerville (AUS) vs Douglas Clark/Cheryl March (FLK) 21-4 21-3
Lin returned to court an hour later to open his men’s singles campaign – a much closer contest against Malta’s Matthew Abela, who is ranked over 100 places higher (at 202 to Lin’s 319). Both players enjoyed a decent run of consecutive points throughout the first game, but Lin’s run of nine points saw him build enough momentum to take control of both games, winning in two.
Lin Ying Xiang (AUS) vs Mathew Abela (MLT) 21-16 21-9
“It feels good to be back on court again. I think I played OK as well today so I’m quite happy with my performance. He is higher ranked than me, so I know he’s more experienced as he plays more tournaments I just need to give everything I have on the court. As long as I put everything that I have on the court, I’m happy with that“, says Lin
Meanwhile, Australia’s reigning national champion Jacob Schueler fell in his opening men’s singles campaigns, at the hands of the higher ranked Jamaican, Sam Ricketts. Sam turned heads in the mixed team event over the weekend, earning respect and attention from the crowds and media for his valiant fight against the world number 42, Ng Tze Yong (Malaysia), who was pivotal in the team’s gold medal win against India yesterday. Not forgetting the moment his opposition’s coach lent Sam his badminton shoes to play in as Sam’s began to fall apart.
Jacob also had to compete with a vocal crowd who came in the masses to support the Jamaican player, narrowly missing out in two close games.
Sam Ricketts (JAM) vs Jacob Schueler (AUS) 21-19 21-15
“I played better than before, but I’m still unhappy with the result obviously“, says Jacob
Next rounds – Thursday 4 August 2022
The Australian competitors will return to court on day two, starting with Nathan Tang who will have to overcome the sixth seed from England, Toby Penty, if he wishes to qualify for the last 16.
Moreover, New Zealand’s Oliver Leydon-Davis and Anona Pak will join the Australians in action tomorrow as they open their mixed doubles campaign.
Follow all results from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games here.