Chinese shuttlers storm into Denmark Open quarterfinals

Chinese shuttlers swept across multiple events to reach the Denmark Open quarterfinals on Thursday.

Women's doubles pair Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan needed only 34 minutes to outclass Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand, 21-12, 21-14.

Chen and Jia, who are currently ranked world No. 1, were challenged by the Thai duo in the opening game as the world No. 10 leveled Chen and Jia's early lead at 7-7 before the Chinese duo took the lead again, going up 11-9.

The Thai pair refused to capitulate, managing to tie the game again at 11-11 after the first technical break.

The Hangzhou Asian Games champions responded with a 9-0 run, storming to a 20-11 lead before converting their second game point.

The two pairs took turns to lead in the second game, as the Chinese duo took an early 3-1 lead before their rivals reversed it 4-3. They, however, retook the initiative again and went into the break with an 11-8 lead.

Chen and Jia made sure that they left no chance for the Thai duo to come back from the break, expanding the gap to 15-8 and wrapping up their victory at 21-14.

The defending champions skipped last week's Arctic Open after an exhausting trip at the Hangzhou Asian Games in early October, where they missed out on the women's team title before coming back from behind in both games to win the double's title in an emotional roller coaster.

They won a record fourth title, also their third consecutive, at the World Championships in August, solidifying the pair's dominance in the event since they finished the Tokyo Olympics as runners-up.

In the men's doubles, He Jiting and Ren Xiangyu, China's only men's pair still in the draw, advanced against local pair Rasmus Kjaer and Frederik Sogaard 21-15, 21-5 later in the day.

Four Chinese men's pairs suffered early exits a day ago, including third-ranked Liang Weikeng and Wang Chang and 8th-ranked Liu Yuchen and Ou Xuanyi.

He and Ren, who had only paired up two weeks ago, used only 33 minutes to kickstart their campaign as a new pair. They led 7-1 in the opening game before extending it to 20-12. The Danish pair couldn't find a way back despite saving three game points. The Chinese pair later scored a surprising 12-0 run before clinching four points in a row again at the end of the match to seal the deal.

"I think we found coordination between us rather easily because we share a similar style of fast-moving," He said after the match with a smile.

"We play every match here as if it's the final. It has been since yesterday, and so it will be tomorrow," added Ren.

Meanwhile, Zhang Shuxian and Zheng Yu joined Chen and Jia to reach the women's doubles last 8. 

Feng Yanzhe and Huang Dongping, defending champions in the mixed doubles contention, eased past their rivals en route to their seventh title of the season. They started pairing up exactly a year ago at the Denmark event, as Huang's former partner Wang Yilyu suffered from injuries and announced retirement in June this year. 

"He's still young and has a long path ahead of him, and I would like to help him, be by his side as he flourishes," Huang said of the 22-year-old Feng as the pair eyes a first Olympic title together at the Paris Olympics next year. 

In the women's singles, He Bingjiao edged out Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong in a tough three-game affair, coming back from behind 17-21, 21-17, 22-20.

Team China's shuttlers are registered in a total of 16 matches across all five events on Thursday. 

(Cover: Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan in action during a match. /CFP)

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