Badminton: Singapore pair eye semi-final

Badminton: Singapore pair eye semi-final
Danny Bawa Chrisnanta (right) and Vanessa Neo (centre) on their way to beating South Korea’s Choi Sol Kyu and Chae Yoo Jung during the OUE Singapore Open held at Singapore Indoor stadium, 9 April 2015.

They have been a pair since 2011, and have never progressed past the quarter-finals in a Badminton World Federation Superseries event.

Today, Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo will have a chance to make a breakthrough at the OUE Singapore Open, although victory for the Republic's top mixed doubles pair will be a tall order.

Facing them in the quarter-finals are Indonesia's world No. 5 duo and defending champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, who own a 4-0 record against the 16th-ranked Singaporeans.

Their last loss to the Indonesians was a 21-12, 17-21, 21-12 defeat at the All England Open last year, but a fired-up Chrisnanta was optimistic of a better result today.

"We've played them a few times... in other countries, but tomorrow we will play them here (at the Indoor Stadium)," said the 25-year-old, after the Singaporeans' 24-22, 21-14 win over South Korea's Choi Sol Kyu and Chae Yoo Jung yesterday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

"It will be different here.

"Of course our opponents are very experienced and it (the home ground advantage) may not have much of an impact on them, but we may still have a little edge.

"To make the semi-finals will mean a breakthrough for us, because we've been to the quarter-finals in a few Superseries tournaments, but never in the last four," added Chrisnanta, who exited the tournament here last year with Neo at the quarter-final stage.

The Singaporeans booked their place in the last eight after a nervy tie against the South Koreans.

They have met twice, with the record at 1-1, and the last meeting was a 21-11, 18-21, 21-19 win for the South Koreans at the Korea Grand Prix Gold in 2013.

CONFIDENCE

Chrisnanta said: "Today, we got to play our own game with confidence, and with all the strategies that we prepared. "The home support had an effect on them, too."

Neo, 27, added: "It was harder for us in the first game because we were with the wind, so we tried to bring down the shuttle instead of opening up the court.

"We were much clearer with our tactics in the second game, we dared to open up the court and it was much harder for them to read our game because there was more variation to our shots."

The Indonesian pair wrapped up their Round of 16 clash against Hong Kong's Reginald Lee and Chau Hoi Wah with a 21-12, 21-19 win. "We hope that we can defend our title this year and we are optimistic about it," she warned.

"Our strategy is to take one match at a time because we have three more rounds before the final."

Chrisnanta and Neo are the only Singaporeans left in the US$300,000 ($406,000) tournament, after the Republic's Chen Jiayuan crashed out of the women's singles competition last night.

After her 21-14, 21-17 loss to world No. 6 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan, Chen said: "I tried hard, but I wasn't too pleased with my game today.

"There is a significant gap between our standards, and she was faster than me; this put me on the back foot for most of the match."

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