Lane Vendy Sudirman 1200

15 May, 2023

England were beaten 4-1 by South Korea on the second day of action at the 2023 TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals in Suzhou.

Team England – supported by Yonex, the official clothing supplier of the England National Team – came into the tie following an opening day defeat to Japan, while four-time champions South Korea had begun their campaign with victory against France.

Action on Monday started with Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith in mixed doubles action, up against Kim Won-Ho and Chae Yoo-Jung, who were both part of the Korean team that won the Sudirman Cup in 2017.

Ellis and Smith started strongly but ultimately their opposition proved too strong, Kim and Chai picking up a 21-16 21-7 victory to put the 2021 bronze medallists ahead in the tie.

Up next for England was Cholan Kayan, making his Sudirman Cup debut in men’s singles action versus Jeon Hyeok-Jin.

It was a tough draw for the young Englishman, against a player who was also part of Korea’s triumphant 2017 squad and who also won his first BWF World Tour title at the Korea Masters in 2022.

The Korean prevailed 21-13 21-6 to put his team 2-0 ahead, though there were positives for Kayan to take from his display.

Freya Redfearn was next in action for England and was taking on Kim Ga-Eun in their women’s singles encounter, Kim having been a part of the Korean squad that claimed Uber Cup gold in 2022.

And it was the Korean who used all her might and experience to defeat Redfearn 21-7 21-8 and hand her nation an unassailable 3-0 lead, though the English star certainly proved her worth on court.

Cholan Kayan Sudirman Cup

Next in action were men’s doubles pairing Ben Lane and Sean Vendy, who were pitted against Choi Sol-Gyu and Na Sung-Seung – the former a doubles champion at the German Open earlier this year and another member of the successful Korea squad of 2017.

Both pairs produced some superb shuttling in an incredibly competitive opening game, which the Koreans were able to edge 22-20.

But after that it was Lane and Vendy in control and the English pair were incredibly impressive throughout, rallying back to seal a 20-22 21-12 21-13 victory.

It was a first ever victory for the duo at this competition, having been beaten in two ties on their event debut in 2021 and tasting defeat in England’s opening tie to Japan yesterday.

“We got off to a pretty shaky start,” said Vendy.

“Conditions are quite quick when you lift, we started off trying to move the shuttle but we couldn’t really do that as they were getting through on attack.

“At one point [in the first game] we said: ‘we’ve got to move forward, we’ve got to get to the net – we’ve got to attack.’ From then we did that, and that’s why we won.”

Lane added: “We just tried to not lift as much, try to get on the attack more, and just take a step forward on the court to make sure we weren’t so far back.

“It always feel great to get a point for your country. Obviously, we’ve already lost the tie, but every time we represent our country we’re proud to put the England shirt on and we’ll give 100%, no matter what the score is.”

The final encounter of the day saw Chloe Birch and Estelle van Leeuwen pair up to face world No.6 pairing Jeong Na Eun and Kim Hye Jeong.

The Koreans demonstrated all their experience in a 21-17 21-11 victory over Birch and Van Leeuwen, though it was still a very encouraging performance from both.

Team England will have a rest day on Tuesday, before taking on European rivals France in their final group match on Wednesday.

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