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Commonwealth Games 2022: The hosts go down fighting

8/2/2022 4:02 PM |  BadmintonEurope.com |  Yash Sharma
While England could not get past Malaysia in the semifinals yet again, the top seeds hope to exact revenge on the defending champions. 

The English athletes were unable to bring their glorious best when it mattered the most. In particular, the high-achieving veterans Marcus Ellis/ Lauren Smith turned in a performance that did not get their team the win. On the other hand, Ben Lane/ Sean Vendy rose to the occasion, but it was not enough. 

With the hosts challenging the fourth seeds Singapore for the top spot in Group B, the difference in recent tournament experience was quite clear. England overall looked weaker in their 4-1 loss, with Lane/ Vendy the sole winners against Hee Yong Kai Terry/ Loh Kean Hean 19-21, 21-12, 21-18. 

Their neighbours Scotland gave a good fight as well. Adam Hall was the showstopper in his team’s narrow 3-2 loss to Canada in Group C. 

England steps up 
While Scotland tamely lost to Singapore 3-0 in the quarterfinals, England stepped up to blank Canada 3-0. Toby Penty’s 21-19, 21-19 win over in-form Brian Yang was mighty impressive.

The repeat semifinals
Interestingly, the two semifinals were a repeat of the 2018 Gold Coast edition. As it turned out, the results were also the same. England’s valiant efforts proved insufficient against Malaysia in the first semifinal. While Ellis/ Smith lost track after pocketing the first game against the new pair of Chan Peng Soon/ Cheah Yee See 12-21, 21-18, 21-13, Lane/ Vendy could not get past the Olympic bronze medallists Aaron Chia/ Soh Wooi Yik 21-17, 21-18. 

An anticlimactic end for Singapore
An inspired Singaporean squad had held their own against the likes of Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia to win men’s and women’s team bronze medals in South East Asian Games earlier this year. They were rightly expected to go far in the Commonwealth Games as well. 

However, they left the fans disappointed with their semifinals performance against the defending champions India, losing 3-0. Indeed, the recently-crowned Thomas Cup champions are the hot favourites for another title, especially following the withdrawal of Malaysia’s men’s singles ace Lee Zii Jia. 

Nevertheless, Singapore was expected to give a good fight, but could not win a single game. The well-known badminton superstars P. V. Sindhu and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/ Chirag Shetty got things going against the island nation, but the world champion Loh Kean Yew was expected to get Singapore on the board. Unfortunately, there was not much noteworthy in his game against Lakshya Sen, as he caved in to the pressure yet again 21-18, 21-15.

A thriller on the cards
With Lee Zii Jia missing from the Malaysian squad, the Indian team is a slight favourite in the final. However, anything can happen on the biggest stage. 

While India is expected to take the singles, Malaysia will rely on their strength in doubles. Indeed, it might all come down to the men’s doubles category as Rankireddy/ Shetty take on Chia/ Wooi Yik. 


 
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