KOREA OPEN 2010 Day 2 – Favourites Survive Scares in Singles

There were few major ripples in the first round of singles action in the 2010 Victor Korea Open Super Series but neither did the favoured players have it easy when […]

There were few major ripples in the first round of singles action in the 2010 Victor Super Series but neither did the favoured players have it easy when they came in from the cold Seoul air to begin their Super Series campaigns for the year.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent, live in Seoul.  Photos: Yves Lacroix, BadmintonPhoto (live)

In the men’s singles, both of China’s giants struggled but came through in three games.  Chen Long (pictured below) thought he had his match against Hong Kong’s Chan Yan Kit wrapped up but Chan came back from 13-19 down in the second to win it 22-20 before losing narrowly in the decider.  Bao Chunlai suffered his reversal in his first game against feisty Korean Kim Sa Rang, who had a tiny crowd behind him even though he happened to be sporting Chinese-looking red and gold.  Kim erased Bao’s 14-11 lead and charged on to win the first 21-15 but then just couldn’t cope in the next two and Bao won handily.

Shon Wan Ho failed to repeat his excellent run of last year.  The new Korean no. 2 caught Dicky Palyama (pictured top) in the second game and pushed the match to a decider but couldn’t stay consistent and the Copenhagen Masters runner-up pulled off the 21-14, 19-21, 21-17 win to earn the right to face Chen Jin in the second round.

“I had a good year in 2009 and I knew my ranking was higher,” said Dicky after the match, “but I knew he had beaten Joachim Persson and made the quarter-finals here last year so I knew he was a good player who would have the advantage playing at home.

Kim Young Man, who came to the Netherlands team in the middle of last year, was on his own home ground but backing up Palyama.  “It is not easy for a coach to help from the coach’s corner because in the end, the player is alone on the court,” Palyama explained.  “I got frustrated in the second game when they cheated me on the lines about four times so I couldn’t get a four-point cushion.  But Coach Kim helped me deal with it, saying ‘That’s what happens in Korea.’

“Whenever I have beaten the top 10 players as I did last year, I spent the previous couple of days analysing match videos and I will be doing the same this time.  I actually didn’t expect this game to go so long so I’ve really already been mentally preparing to meet Chen Jin.  I played him about five times this past season and twice I was close and the other times he just ran over me.  Even though it was a long match today, I am feeling good about tomorrow.”

The women’s singles results were slightly more interesting.  Korea’s rising star Sung Ji Hyun (see related article here) created the first upset of the tournament in the first match of the morning on Wednesday.  Japan Open semi-finalist Eriko Hirose continually caught the Korean youngster flatfooted in their first game but Sung held it together to save one game point and took the first game 22-20.  In the second, Sung had things more her way and moved Hirose around the court at will en route to a 21-13 victory.

Next, it was newly-crowned Korean champion Bae Youn Joo who threatened to rain on the parade of Super Series Masters Finals runner-up Julian Schenk of Germany.  Bae displayed excellent shot placement to take the upper hand in game one but just couldn’t succeed in the game of catch-up in the second.  The deciding game looked like it would be a blowout as Schenk blasted to a then n 11-3 lead but then Bae gave chase again.  The German earned two match points with a splendid crosscourt drop that sent Bae sprawling and the match finished 15-21, 21-17, 21-19.

Then, on the same court, it was Zhou Mi’s turn to shudder as she was toyed with by a confident Wong Mew Choo in the first game.  However, the Hong Kong shuttler pulled it together to be just as dominant in the next two and took the match 10-21, 21-10, 21-11.

Korea’s Kang Hae Won (pictured) then became the only one to eliminate a seeded player on the day, as she finally converted her fourth match point to beat Thailand’s Salakjit Ponsana 21-11 6-21 25-23.

The doubles saw few surprises outside of the mixed but England got a shock when Korea’s Singapore Youth Olympic hopefuls Choi Hye In and Lee So Hee (pictured) dominated their first and third games against Wallwork/White to become one of five Korean pairs in the women’s doubles second round.

In the men’s doubles, it was two more experienced pairs who perpetrated the upsets as Chinese Taipei’s Fang/Lee beat Gan/Tan of Malaysia and Ko Sung Hyun / Yoo Yeon Seong surprised 2005 World Champions Bach/Gunawan 21-13, 21-16.

One of the more interesting matches began with three players and two coaches hailing from Korea’s venerable Wonkwang University badminton program.  Canada’s Toby Ng was the odd man out as both his partner Lee Haeng Ham and coach Kim Dong Moon had attended the school as had opponents Kim Dae Eun / Chung Eui Seok and their coach Kim Yong Hyun.  Last year it was Lee who was the Korean victim of Kim Dong Moon’s Canadian protégés but this year he had joined forces with Kim’s charges by donning a Canada jersey and he and Ng controlled the first game, to put the Koreans one game down.

Kim/Chung fought back in the second and looked like they had run away with the deciding game before Lee and Ng (pictured) staged an incredible comeback from 14-19 to actually build a match point opportunity.  The Koreans held fast, however, and eked out the 23-21 victory.

Thailand’s Songphon Anugritayawon had to fight hard for both of his victories on Wednesday.  Early in the day, he and Sudket Prapakamol survived a 22-20, 13-21, 21-19 nail-biter with France’s Baptise Careme / Sylvian Grosjean and in the last match of the very late evening, Songphon and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul dropped one game to Japan’s Hirokatsu Hashimoto / Mizuki Fujii before bouncing back to win in three.

Stay tuned with Badzine as we bring you the best from the round of 16, which will feature the entry onto the scene of the men’s and women’s doubles top seeds, including the crowd’s favourites Jung Jae Sung / Lee Yong Dae.

For complete results from Day 2 of the 2010 Victor Korea Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

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A great place to stay during the Korean Open
CLICK here to make a reservation at Artnouveau

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net