New Zealand players have missed out on the singles finals at the Oceania Junior (U19) Badminton Championships in Suva, Fiji. However Kiwis look set to dominate the doubles and mixed finals after some close fought matches against their Australian opponents.
Top seed in the singles, Asher Richardson from Canterbury was defeated in the men’s semifinals in three tight games by Aussie Sawan Serasinghe 22-20, 7-21 21-15. In the other semifinal North Harbour’s Evan Lee, the tournaments second seed was also defeated in three games by an Australian, Brendan Tieu.
In the women’s singles, Auckland’s Victoria Cheng came close to gaining a finals spot but eventually went down in a 60 minute battle to Vinning Mak(Australia) in three games after an hour long battle.
A New Zealand winner is guaranteed in the mixed and the women’s doubles with Kiwis dominating those competitions.
Lee and Cheng defeated Richardson and Waikato’s Madeleine Stapleton 22-20 in the third game of their semifinals and will now play Maika Phillips(Nth Harbour) and Mary O’Connor (Waitakere) who beat their Australian opponents in straight games.
The women’s doubles final will feature Cheng and O’Connor against North Harbour’s Anona Pak and Stapleton. Both teams had wins over Australian opponents. Cheng and O’Connor took out top seeds Verdet Kessler and Tara Pilven in their semifinals.
In the men’s doubles Lee and Shawn Zhang were beaten in straight games by Australians Matt Chau and Sawan Serasinghe.
All of the players are aiming to put in good performances heading into the US$15,000 New Zealand International at North Harbour in the first week of April.
Oceania Junior Badminton Results (New Zealand results only. New Zealand unless listed):
Men’s singles semis:
Sawan Serasinghe(Australia) bt Asher Richardson 22-20 7-21 21-15, Brendan Tiue(Australia) bt Evan Lee 18-21 21-12 21-19.
Women’s singles semis:
Vinning Mak(Australia) bt Victoria Cheng 21-9 14-21 21-18
Evan Lee/Victoria Cheng bt Asher Richardson/Madeleine Stapleton 11-21 21-17 22-20, Maika Phillips/Mary O’Connor bt Toby Wong/Vinning Mak 21-19 21-18.
Men’s doubles semifinals:
Matt Chau/Sawan Serasinghe(Australia) bt Evan Lee/Shawn Zhang 21-14 21-18
Women’s doubles semifinals:
Victoria Cheng/Mary O’Connor bt Verdet Kessler/Tara Pilven(Australia) 21-13 18-21 21-15, Anona Pak/Madeleine Stapleton bt Vinning Mak/Gronya Somerville(Australia) 21-13 21-19.