China’s Liang, Wang advance in BWF World Tour Finals last minute

China’s Liang Weikeng and Wang Chang secured a crucial win in the men’s doubles preliminary round to advance in the BWF World Tour Finals in Hangzhou on Friday.

Liang and Wang, with only one victory from previous rounds, came back from a set down to beat Malaysian duo Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik 18-21, 21-14, 21-12, while the Japanese duo of Hoki Takuro and Kobayashi Yugo, who also had one win under their belt before Friday, suffered a loss to the other Chinese duo of Ou Xuanyi and Liu Yuchen, who now have three straight victories.

Wang Chang (R) and Liang Weikeng in action during the men’s doubles round-robin match at the BWF World Tour Finals in Hangzhou, China, December 15, 2023. /CFP

Wang Chang (R) and Liang Weikeng in action during the men’s doubles round-robin match at the BWF World Tour Finals in Hangzhou, China, December 15, 2023. /CFP

Liang said afterward that his morale was lifted during the match, when Ou, a veteran among the Chinese squad, gestured to him from outside the court that they had beaten the Japanese duo who were fighting for the same berth against Liang and his partner Wang.

“He gestured me to step up the game, and I replied with one too, saying that I will. It’s like the veterans were leading us to success and all I had to do was to follow up,” he said.

Meanwhile, world champions Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan enjoyed a walkover in the women’s doubles after Japanese pair Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara quit the match, which resulted in cancellation of all match results related to the Japanese pair, including a victory China’s Liu Shengshu and Tan Ning took from them a day ago.

Liu and Tan, who won the “Eddy Choong Most Promising Player” award for the BWF Player of the Year 2023, beat another Japanese duo Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi 21-12, 21-17 later in the day.

China’s Olympic champion Chen Yufei at Tokyo 2020 finished second in the group after losing to her predecessor, Rio 2016 champion Carolina Marin of Spain 25-23, 24-22.

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