World Tour Finals: Ecstatic English; Unperturbed Marin

Ben Lane and Sean Vendy, playing their first season finale and needing a win in their last group match to qualify for the semifinals, breezed past Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi to achieve a milestone in their career.

Ben Lane in full flight against the Malaysians.

The England duo were in a virtual shootout with the Malaysians for second place in Group A behind Wang Chi-Lin and Lee Yang. Down 10-13 in the opening game, Lane and Vendy sprinted ahead with a sequence of 10 straight points; they continued with that momentum in the second game too, leaving the Malaysians trailing well behind as they closed it out 21-15 21-13.

“We were enjoying ourselves for sure. It’s probably one of the biggest matches of our careers so far,” said Vendy. “Whoever won this match today would go through to the semifinals. We knew we might be the underdogs on paper, but we’ve been playing well throughout these last three weeks and we were confident going into this match.

“It’s hard for me to put into words how I’m feeling right now, we’ve never done this well in such a big tournament. We’ll give it our all tomorrow.”

“It’s a great result for us,” said his partner. “We started off the opening game a bit slow and found our rhythm, but my emotions right now are knackered. It’s a slow hall, it’s always a long rally and you have to keep pushing things. It was a case of staying disciplined in this match.”

Group B in men’s doubles saw Choi Solgyu/Seo Seung Jae and Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan qualify for the semifinals at the expense of Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov and Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik respectively.

Rare Loss for Marin

Carolina Marin fell to her first loss this year after a sequence of 12 straight victories that saw her clinch back-to-back titles in Bangkok. Marin’s conqueror was An Se Young, who got the better of her after falling to the Spaniard twice in the last two weeks. An’s 21-16 14-21 21-19 victory saw her top Group A.

However, Marin, who was noticeably playing at a slower pace than usual in the third game, said she wasn’t too bothered about the loss and was had treated the match as a training session.

“I didn’t want to force myself today. I played like it was training. I lost but I don’t care about the result.

“I tried to do some different strokes that I wanted to practice to see how they were going. Some of them went well but at the same time I made a few mistakes. We just have to analyse how I hit the shuttle on those occasions.

I’m ready for the semifinal. That’s why I said I didn’t really care about today’s game. I’m looking forward to it. I will prepare well and will be ready to go on court again.”

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