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September 21, 2017

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Yulianti, Rice and Hsieh advance in badminton

BEIJING -- Germany's Juliane Schenk failed to capitalize on match point and was upset by Maria Kristin Yulianti of Indonesia in a three-game singles starter to Olympic women's badminton action on Saturday.

In another close match, Canada's Anna Rice kept her cool in a nailbiter game three, letting the only U.S. woman in the tournament, Eva Lee, hand her the penultimate point with an unforced error and then winning match point.

But the biggest cheers from the near-sellout crowd at the Beijing Institute of Technology gymnasium came as Taiwan men's singles player Hsieh Yu-hsing crushed Iran's fiery Kaveh Mehrabi, 21-16, 21-12.

Schenk, who serves in the German army, came out strongly and took game one, 21-18. But Yulianti, who beat defending Olympic champion Zhang Ning in the Indonesia Open Super Series in June, struck back in game two, 21-13 despite an early deficit.

Schenk gave up match point at 20-19, then missed a serve return and one more to lose the final game, 22-20.

"I tried everything and it was close," said Schenk. "I was leading the second game and maybe took a few too many risks. I did not keep pushing into the four corners in the third game."

In the Rice-Lee matchup, the Canadian took game one 21-15, and Lee struggled early in game two. She warmed up in the second half, however, taking 15 of the last 24 points to win the game.

Game three see-sawed and Rice took the last two points when Lee hit a shot out and then knocked match point into the net.

"At the end there it was me against myself in a way," Rice said. "I really had to just settle down and focus on working the rally, keeping the shuttle in play, letting her try too much. And at 19-all that's what she did and it went out the side and then I knew it was mine."

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