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Big Incentive for Young Kiwis at SKYCITY NZ Badminton Open

Big incentive for young Kiwis at SKYCITY New Zealand Badminton Open

Plenty of incentive for New Zealand’s Christine Zhang at the SKYCITY New Zealand Badminton Open at the North Shore Events Centre in Auckland today.

The 17-year-old is the last remaining Kiwi in the women’s singles draw, lining up in the round of 16 this afternoon.

There she will face the daunting challenge of 6th seeded Indonesian Dinar Dyah Ayustine, ranked number 44 in the world.

Zhang is ranked 849th.

However, if she can produce a major upset, the New Zealand teen can look forward to a likely quarterfinal against world number nine Ratchanok Intanon, one of the stars of the sport.

The top seeded Thai faces Australian qualifier Yingzi Jiang in the last 16.

Meanwhile, fellow Kiwis Oscar Guo and Dacmen Vong are also bidding for a quarterfinal spot in the men’s doubles, after winning through to the second round last night.

Guo (16) and Vong (17) made the most of their promotion to the main draw after a late withdrawal, with a first up win over Indonesia’s Rizky Kurniawan and Komandani Maytri Sugiarto.

However, they face a tougher task to earn a place in the last eight, taking on another Indonesian duo in Wahyu Nakaya Arya Pangkaryanira and Ade Yusuf Santoso, ranked in the world’s top 100 in mixed doubles.

There are also three New Zealand pairings still alive in the women’s doubles.

Danielle Tahuri and Yongshi Xie won through to the round of 16 last night, while Alyssa Tagle and Jacqueline Yu had earlier advanced by a walkover, as did Ella Smith and Jahvaya Wheki, after their respective opponents withdrew.

They will now be looking to take advantage of their good fortune, by claiming a spot in the quarters.

Play gets underway at 2 o’clock this afternoon, featuring the round of 16 in the men’s and women’s singles, the men’s and women’s doubles and the mixed doubles.

Tickets are available at the door for the action on day three – Adults $20 and students are free.


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