ALL ENGLAND 2008 – Xie Xingfang already out

In a dramatic first-round women’s singles match, No. 1 seed Xie Xingfang crashed out of the prestigious All England championships to 20-year-old Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong 20-22, 19-21. […]

ImageIn a dramatic first-round women’s singles match, No. 1 seed Xie Xingfang crashed out of the prestigious championships to 20-year-old Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong 20-22, 19-21. The 2006 Doha Asian Games silver-medallist exploited the top seed’s obvious lack of fitness to book her seat in the second round.

By Mark Phelan, Live from Birmingham. Photos: Badmintonphoto

The opening exchanges of the first game were frantic with both players failing to stamp their authority on the game. The game was level at 7-all when Yip (WR 12) managed to exploit the obvious lack of match practise from the world number one and etched out a 17-8 lead. Typical of Xie Xingfang, she battled her way back into the match and in working the extremities of the court she won 8 consecutive points to get back into the game at 17-16 and then levelled at 20-20. The young Hong Kong player summoned all her mental reserves to score two consecutive points and take the opening game 22-20 .

The second game was extremely tight with both players matching each other in all areas of their game. Any time Xie attacked, the young Hong Kong player was in a position to draw on her extraordinary levels of fitness to return and counter attack the favourite’s precise tactical play. Both players matched each other point for point and at 10-10 it was Yip who appeared to be doing the better job of dealing with the pressure and who subsequently found herself with a 19-16 lead and the dream of beating the world number one was now within arms reach.

The crowd sensed an upset and all eyes were on the final points of the game. Xie sensed she was under pressure and once again proved why she is the best in the world as she clawed her way back into the match and levelled up the game at 19-19. The feeling in the crowd was that she would then go on to take the game and push the match to a decider but the only player who disagreed with this sentiment was Yip. Like in the first game, she dug deep and won the final two points to win 21-19 and take the match 2-0.

I was excited and happy to beat the world number one but knowing she had not played much lately and maybe was carrying a slight injury gave me so much confidence to go out and beat her especially at this early 1st round stage,” said Yip after the match.

When asked where this win ranked in her career to date, she explained “This win is second only to my silver medal at the Doha Asian Games in 2006. I hope I can now win more games in this tournament as I feel that the gap between the Chinese and the rest of the world is closing. Wong had won in China, and Tine’s win in Malaysia has given us all a boost in our efforts to beat the top Chinese.”

All results LIVE HERE

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