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Locals grab 1 title, reach 2 other finals in Olympic tune-up

SINGAPORE--Taiwan's Olympic badminton players captured one title and reached the finals in two other events at the Li Ning Singapore Open this past week as they hoped to fine-tune their games ahead of the London Games beginning in late July.

Chen Hung-ling and Cheng Wen-hsing, ranked fifth in the world in mixed doubles, topped the world No. 11 Japanese duo of Shintaro Ikeda and Reiko Shiota 21-17, 21-11 to win the mixed doubles title at the Singapore event.

The victory served as an additional confidence booster ahead of the London Olympics for the duo, even if the world's top three ranked teams did not play in the tournament.

Chen and Cheng, who began to play as a team in March 2010, grabbed the first medal for Taiwan in a badminton event at the Asian Games in 20 years when they won bronze at the Guangzhou Games in November 2010, and they're hoping for a similar breakthrough in London.

Other Taiwanese players were trying to get back in winning form after recent runs of inconsistent play.

Taiwan's Cheng Shao-chieh, who fell to 13th in the world recently after being ranked in the top 10 for most of the past year, reached the women's singles finals in Singapore before losing to second-seeded and world No. 6 Juliane Schenk of Germany, 21-11 26-24.

Cheng said she made too many unforced errors and was unable to maintain her composure in crucial moments during the match.

But she said her runner-up finish was still a breakthrough after reaching only one quarterfinal in eight tournaments this year and that she would not think too much about the upcoming London Games.

None of the top five women's singles players participated in the Singapore event.

Also on Sunday, Taiwan's Cheng Wen-hsing and Chien Yu-chin lost to the world No. 5 Chinese duo of Zhong Qianxin and Bao Yixin 21-12, 21-17 in the women's doubles final.

The Taiwanese duo, who were ranked first in the world as recently as April 2011 but are now ranked 11th, said they lost the match because they were too passive in defense.

The Chinese duo was one of the two women's top-five doubles teams to play in the Singapore event. They eliminated the world No. 4 team of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa of Japan in the quarterfinals.

Other Taiwanese Olympians who participated in the Singapore tournament were Hsu Jen-hao, who was ousted in the first round of the men's singles, and Tai Tzu-ying, who lost in the second round of the women's singles to Eriko Hirose of Japan.

Fang Chieh-min and Lee Sheng-mu, seeded fifth in the men's doubles in Singapore, lost in the quarterfinals to a Danish duo in three sets.

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