HONG KONG OPEN 2009 Day 3 – Yao Jie Back in a Day of Upsets

Dutch veteran Yao Jie struck again at the Hong Kong Open Super Series, defeating India’s prodigy Saina Nehwal in two straight games only, certainly playing now at her best, bringing […]

HKG09-Yao

Dutch veteran Yao Jie struck again at the Super Series, defeating India’s prodigy Saina Nehwal in two straight games only, certainly playing now at her best, bringing her run of good form from Europe to Asia.  Meanwhile, Indonesia’s former Olympic bronze medalist Sony Dwi Kuncoro was shown the way out by a (for now) little-known Thai player.

By Tarek HAFI, Badzine Correspondent..  Photos: BadmintonPhoto (live from Hong Kong)
Originally from China but now playing for the Netherlands, the tall Yao Jie (photo) is now announcing her return to the top echelon through fantastic performances in the past few weeks with a win on home ground in the Netherlands followed by two semi-final finishes at the Denmark and French Super Series.  She is now aiming for no less than the final four stage at the Hong Kong Open Super Series.  Her prospective opponents are now all aware: Yao Jie won’t leave the badminton circuit without another chance to shine..

Unseeded for the past few months because of some very troubling injuries and no funding from the Dutch Federation since the Olympic Games, she was set to play Saina Nehwal, quarter-finalist at the recent Denmark and French Super Series.  But Yao Jie showed she was undaunted by the teenaged Indonesia Open champion as she totally outplayed the young Indian player in just two straight games.

HKG09-PonsanaSince the Dutch Open, where I won, I felt better and mostly more relaxed. I  had decided then that I wanted to play some tournaments for the fun of it, and maybe stop after this year.  The China Open could be my last tournament, but since I am playing very well, I don’t know exactly what I will be doing,” she told the BWF. The Dutch player will now be playing Bae Sung Hee from Korea, before a very probable match against Wang Lin, the number one seed, a player against whom she lost in the French Open two weeks ago, but Yao Jie remains confident “I will be playing a Korean girl, and then, maybe Wang Lin in the quarter-finals. And I think I can beat her.

Ups and downs for Thailand

Former World Championship runner-up Sony Dwi Kuncoro probably had a big smile on his face when he learned of Lin Dan’s withdrawal, meaning a match against a qualifier. But the laughter didn’t last long as he was upset by Thai teenager Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, who will definitely bring trouble to his elders in the very near future.  It was a hard, three-game fight that Tanongsak won 21-13, 19-21, 21-16. Sony Dwi Kuncoro is certainly not his first victim amongst the top Indonesian players as, back in 2008 during the Thomas Cup, Tanongsak, shocked the badminton world by beating Taufik Hidayat in straight games.

The Thai youngster needed to avenge his famous compatriot Boonsak Ponsana (photo), however.  Though seeded eighth in the tournament, Boonsak’s game was simply not good enough to overcome Indonesia’s new talent Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka, who plays not for the national team but  for its famous talent-grooming competitor, the PB Djarum club. The talented Indonesian player kept his fighting spirit throughout the match, winning his place for the second round by a very slight margin 22-20, 21-19.

HKG09-FlandyIndonesia’s legendary veterans Flandy Limpele (pictured here training and pretending to a right handed player!) and Candra Wijaya paired up for this Hong Kong Open but seemed not prepared enough to face new dangerous Korean combination Cho Gun Woo and Shin Baek Cheol, who looked in great shape since their Korean Sports Festival, playing their best to defeat their illustrious opponents in a three-game battle that ended 21-19, 18-21, 21-16.

For complete results from Day 3 of the 2009 Hong Kong Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

To see a collection of live photos from the Hong Kong Open, CLICK HERE

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About Tarek Hafi