Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Commonwealth Games: Badminton team into quarterfinals

New Zealand are guaranteed a berth in the mixed teams badminton quarterfinals after they extended their winning run at the Commonwealth Games overnight (NZT).
A pivotal 3-2 defeat of Sri Lanka was followed by a surprisingly easy 5-0 whitewash of Northern Ireland.
Following a crushing win on the first day over Jamaica, the New Zealanders are on a high heading into today's final group B match against another unbeaten outfit, Singapore.
Manager Roger Southby said there was quiet optimism they could give tournament fourth seeds Singapore a run for their money at Siri Fort Stadium.
"The pleasing thing is that we're improving in every match," he told NZPA.
"We've done a bit of scouting on Singapore and there's no doubt they look strong but the New Zealand Games team motto here is about climbing Everest and we've reached that stage now so we'll see how we handle it."
A loss to Singapore will almost certainly leave New Zealand with an unenviable quarterfinal draw against Malaysia, the top seeds and runaway favourites for gold.
Before then they can reflect on a dominant display against the Northern Irish in which they didn't drop a set.
Joe Wu beat Tony Stephenson 21-9 21-15 and Michelle Chan conquered Sinead Chambers 21-6 21-9 in singles play while Henry Tam and Donna Halliday combined in the mixed doubles for a 21-12 21-10 hammering of Matthew Gleave and Caroline Black.
Tam and Oliver Leydon-Davis accounted for Stephenson and Gleave 21-12 21-12 in the men's doubles before Halliday and Danielle Barry rounded out victory against Chambers and Black, 22-20 21-8.
The match against Sri Lanka was a rugged tussle which was decided by the superiority of New Zealand's women.
The scores were locked 2-2 going into the final match, the women's doubles, where Halliday and Barry responded superbly, outclassing Chandrika Hettiarachchige and Thilini Jayasinghe 21-11 21-16.
Indeed, any match involving a New Zealand woman resulted in victory for the team in black while the men struggled.
Chan beat Jayasinghe 21-15 10-21 21-13 while Haliday and Tam downed Hettiarachchige and Dinuka Karunaratna 21-12 21-15 in what proved to be a decisive mixed doubles result.
Earlier, Wu lost 21-14 21-14 to Niluka Karunaratne while Tam and Leydon-Davis suffered the same fate, 21-11 21-16 against Karunaratna and Karunaratne.

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