Despite a masterful week of men’s doubles badminton for ex-Rupertite Adrian Liu and his athletic partner Derrick Ng in China earlier in May, the Canadian team fell from contention in the hotly-contested 2015 Sudirman Cup.
Liu and Ng lost their first men’s doubles match against their first group opponent, the Netherlands’ Jacco Arends and Jelle Maas, 18-21, 19-21.
But the duo would rebound and reel off three straight victories to run the table for the duration of the 35-team tournament.
The next day, Canada’s second group opponent, Singapore’s Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Chayut Triyachart faced off against Liu and Ng and both teams found themselves in a tightly fought battle, with the Canadians just edging Singapore in three games 21-18, 10-21, 21-18. Despite Singapore’s 57 total points won being greater than the Canadians’ 52, it was the late-game clutch performances by Liu and Ng in games one and three that toppled their opposition to move to 1-1 at the tourney.
Two days later, Liu and Ng took on Spain’s Luis Enrique Penalver and Ernesto Velazquez – a more unfamiliar opponent for the duo, and they took them out with relative ease, winning 21-9, 21-16.
Finishing group play with a record of 2-1, the men’s doubles team helped carry Canada’s chances of advancing at the tourney, but unfortunately not all of their colleagues performed as well in their matches.
Women’s singles powerhouse and the country’s top current badminton player, Michelle Li, did the best out of all the Canadian sides, winning all three of her matches, including an epic game against Spain’s Carolina Marin, that went three games and lasted an hour and 19 minutes. Her other two matches were 33 minutes each.
Canada’s competitors in men’s singles, mixed doubles and women’s doubles combined for a collective 1-8 record, which when paired with Liu, Ng and Li’s performances gave Canada a 6-9 record, good for fourth in Level 2 Group A. The Netherlands won the group, followed by Singapore in second and Spain in third.
In group two playoffs, Canada proved to be too much for their opponent, Brazil. Despite an opening match loss by Canadian mixed doubles’ team Alex Bruce and Toby Ng, Canada stringed together three straight wins by men’s singles’ Andrew D’Souza, women’s singles’ Rachel Honderich and Liu and Derrick Ng in men’s doubles to win the best-of-five series 3-1.
Team China dominated the field and emerged victorious at the end of the Sudirman Cup, beating Japan in their series 3-0. The hosts won their 10th Sudirman Cup with the victory.
Next for the Rupertite is a busy on-court summer schedule, starting with the Suffolk County Community College US Open, held in New York from Tuesday, June 16 to Sunday, June 21. That tournament is part of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Grand Prix Gold Series and is a qualifying event for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Shortly thereafter, Liu will head north and a little closer to home for the Yonex Canada Open, held in Calgary from Tuesday, June 23 to Sunday, June 28.
Liu’s focus will then turn to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games in July, where he’ll represent Canada again on the men’s doubles badminton stage with teammate Derrick Ng.