LONDON: Asia's badminton powers flexed their muscles on the second day on Sunday, as Britain's strongest medal hopes tearfully crashed out of contention.
China's world No 3 Chen Long survived an enthralling tussle with Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana in the men's singles, coming back from 15-10 down in the second set to win 21-12, 21-17 and advance to the knockout rounds. Compatriot and fellow world No 3 Li Xuerui joined Chen in the last 16 of the women's singles, having demolished Spain's Carolina Marin 21-13, 21-11.
China's men and women's doubles also completed convincing victories, keeping the Asian nation on track for a historic sweep after winning three of the five titles on offer in Beijing. It was all gloom for home hopes Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier, however, after they were overhauled by Germany pair Michael Fuchs and Michel Birgit 11-21, 21-17, 21-14 to be bundled out of the mixed doubles. The result left Scotland's Bankier, who partnered Adcock to a silver medal at last year's world championships at the same venue, with tears streaming down her face.
China, South Korea and Indonesia have won 23 out of 24 titles since the sport joined the Olympic programme at the 1992 Barcelona Games, but women's world No 5 Saina Nehwal is determined to muscle India into the gold medal club. The 22-year-old, arguably the greatest hope of upsetting the four Chinese women ranked above her, blew away Swiss Sabrina Jaquet 21-9, 21-4 in her first match to the delight of Indian contingent in the crowd.
British fans let down by Adcock and Bankier's exit were back in full voice late in the evening session as Rajiv Ouseph survived his first men's singles match against Swede Henri Hurskainen. With fans on the terraces thumping floorboards with their feet, the 25-year-old from the London borough of Hounslow sealed the match 22-20, 17-21, 21-15 with a smash in the left court and pumped his chest in delight as the home crowd roared.
The big names of badminton come out to play on the third day with China's Olympic men's champion Lin Dan and his long-time rival Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia starting their campaigns. Suriname wildcard Virgil Soeroredjo's Olympic adventure finished promptly in the morning session with a one-sided loss to Japanese sixth seed Sho Sasaki but he signed off with an opinion that many might share at the Wembley Arena.