Britain's Robertson, Emms advance in badminton

Aug. 12, 2008, 9:54 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Britain's Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms staged a dramatic comeback in the third game Tuesday to defeat China's Gao Ling and Zheng Bo in mixed doubles at the Olympic badminton tournament.

Trailing 17-12 in the third game, Robertson and Emms scored seven straight points to take a 19-17 lead on their way to a 21-16, 16-21, 21-19 win over the second-seeded Chinese pair and a place in the quarterfinals.

"That's probably the best seven points we've ever played," said Robertson. "The Chinese fight when they are down and never give you anything so it was nice to turn the tables."

Robertson and Emms won the silver medal in Athens four years ago and said they have only one goal here in Beijing.

"We've waited four years for another chance," said Robertson. "We only came here for the gold. We won silver last time so we only want to win the gold."

Robertson scored the winning point with a cross-court smash and pumped his first before embracing Emms.

It was a setback for the host nation, which is hoping to dominate the Olympic badminton tournament after wining three of five golds in Athens.

It was an even bigger disappointment for Gao, who was bidding for her third straight gold medal. Gao won gold in Sydney in 2000 and in Athens four years later with partner Zhang Jun.

Emms and Robertson will face Lee Hyo-jung and Lee Yong-dae in the quarterfinals. The South Koreans defeated Craig Cooper and Renee Flavell of New Zealand 21-12, 21-11.

The top-seeded pair of Liliyana Natsir and Nova Widianto of Indonesia also advanced to the quarterfinals when they defeated South Koreans Han Sung-hun and Hwang Yu-mi 23-21, 21-19.

Earlier Tuesday, second-seeded Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia coasted to a 21-5, 21-7 win over Kestutis Navickas of Lithuania to advance to the men's singles quarterfinals.

Lee, who is bidding for Malaysia's first gold medal in the Olympics, will meet sixth-seeded Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia in Thursday's quarterfinals. Dwi Koncoro defeated Finland's Ville Lang 21-13, 21-18.

Top-seeded Lin Dan of China coasted to a 21-8, 21-11 over South Korea's Park Sung-hwan to set up a quarterfinal showdown with Denmark's Peter Gade.

Gade defeated Japan's Shoji Sato 19-21, 22-20, 21-15.

In other men's singles matches, South Korea's Lee Hyun-il overpowered Germany's Marc Zwiebler 21-13, 21-11.

Third-seeded Bao Chunlai of China survived a scare but held on to defeat Poland's Przemyslaw 21-11, 19-21, 21-13. Bao won the match with a powerful smash that Przemyslaw returned into the net.

In men's doubles, top-seeded Markus Kido and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia defeated unseeded Chinese pair Guo Zhendong and Xie Zhongbo 22-20, 10-21, 21-17.

Americans Howard Bach and Bob Malaythong defeated South African brothers Chris and Roelof Dednam 21-10, 21-16 to advance to the quarterfinals.

Malaythong and Bach will meet second-seeded Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng of China in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Cai and Fu, who are third in the world rankings, defeated Jens Dyrloev Eriksen and Martin Hansen Lundgaard of Denmark 21-12, 21-11.

The top-seeded pair of Liliyana Natsir and Nova Widianto of Indonesia defeated South Koreans Han Sung-hun and Hwang Yu-mi 23-21, 21-19 to move into the quarterfinals.