Southeast Asian Games-bound shuttlers Eleanor Christine Inlayo and Susmita Ramos took to heart the lessons they learned from their encounter with world no. 7 Japanese Nami Natsuyama and Chiharu Shida in the Badminton Asia Championships 2022 on Wednesday at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex in Muntinlupa City.
The Japanese duo, who won the 2022 All-England Open last month, outplayed Inlayo and Ramos, 21-16, 21-11, in the first round of the star-studded women’s doubles.
The Filipina pair, both student-athletes from the University of the Philippines, got an idea of what it’s like to play at the world stage when Natsuyama and Shida took only 27 minutes to finish the contest.
Inlayo and Ramos, who are returning from a long absence from the national team, managed to tie the match at 2-all in the first set when the Japanese duo unleashed a 6-0 blast to take control, 8-2.
Another 6-0 surge at the start of the second set allowed Natsuyama and Shida to take a comfortable advantage afterwards.
The Japanese shuttlers adjusted with the speed of their shots as the game progressed, something the Filipinas were not used to.
“We were confident with our game. But they were easily adjusting to us on speed,” said the 24-year-old Inlayo, who is playing for the first time in an international meet with Ramos, some two weeks before they are to compete at the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games.
Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Chen Qingchen and partner Jia Yi Fan, who are the top seeds in the women’s doubles, advanced as expected after they disposed of Jeong Na-Eun and Kim Hye Jeong.
And so did Anna Cheong and Teoh Mai Xing of Malaysia, who beat Ashwini Baht and Shikha Gautam of India, 21-19,21-12; and the duo of Ng Tze Yau and Tsang Hiu Yan, who eased out Filipina bets Airah Albo and Thea Marie Pomar, 21-8, 21-15.