Australian Dominance in Noumea Continues
In front of an enthusiastic crowd gathered at Salle Anewy, the Australians in the field continued the theme of yesterday to once again put on strong performances and claim most of the semi-final spots. The Aussie women are guaranteed a singles title with the seeds all progressing through as expected to create two all-Australian semi-finals. New Zealand’s representation is limited to one in the men’s singles, a pair in the men’s doubles and mixed doubles, and two pairs in the women’s doubles.
In the men’s singles, the evening went largely as planned, with only 4th seed Nathan Tang (AUS) failing to move through. Dylan Soedjasa (NZ) made short work of Tang, in a match that lasted just 23 minutes, and now prepares to face second seed Anthony Joe to try and claim a finals berth for New Zealand.
The women’s singles was a similar affair, with the only threat to the Australian dominance coming from unseeded New Zealander, Sally Fu, who pushed Joy Lai (2) right through three tough games, in a match that stretched to 44 minutes. In the end, a few unforced errors from Fu, and Lai’s endless stamina, saw Lai close out the match 21-14 18-21 21-17 to ensure the finals would be an all-Australian event.
Joel Findlay and Jeff Tho (AUS) got the crowd on their feet as the newly minted pairing sent the second seeds, Mitchell Wheller and Simon Leung (AUS), out of the competition. Wheller and Leung looked to be in good form, coming out on top of a tough battle yesterday, but it appears they hadn’t quite fully recovered from the 52-minute epic of the previous day. After a close win in the first game, Wheller and Leung couldn’t keep up the pace through the second game, opening the door for Findlay and Tho, who didn’t need a second invitation.
The stage is set for some exciting Trans-Tasman battles, as a number of experienced pairs come up head-to-head in the women’s doubles finals. The first semi-final sees top seeds Gronya Somerville and Setyana Mapasa (AUS) face experienced New Zealand pair Susannah Leydon-Davis and Danielle Tahuri. The second semi-final sets Tiffany Ho and Joy Lai (AUS) against second seeds Vicki Copeland and Anona Pak (NZ). All four pairs were relatively untroubled in their quarter-finals today, meaning they should be well rested to put on quality performances tomorrow.
Dylan Soedjasa and Susannah Leydon-Davis (NZ) are both having a strong tournament, and that showed in their mixed doubles early in the day, with their experience proving too much for the younger pairing of Daxxon Vong and Erena Calder-Hawkins (NZ). Matthew Chau and Louisa Ma pulled off the day’s other upset, overcoming Kevin Dennerly-Minturn and Danielle Tahuri in a 49-minute struggle, 18-21 21-19 21-16.
An exciting evening of semi-finals lies ahead tomorrow, with all the top seeds still remaining in the competition, as well as a few dark horses who will be looking to upset things. Play begins at 4pm (local time) at Salle Anewy and live streaming at http://bit.ly/OceaniaLive.