FRENCH OPEN 2010 Day 3 – Yes she CANN

Day 3 of the French Super Series in badminton and 14 seeded players ate humble pie before the heure de dîner.  The disappointment du jour for locals was Pi Hongyan’s […]

Day 3 of the French Super Series in badminton and 14 seeded players ate humble pie before the heure de dîner.  The disappointment du jour for locals was Pi Hongyan’s early exit at the hands of England’s Elizabeth Cann.

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live from Paris)

It turned out to be foreboding coming up against someone of Elisabeth’s surname.  What’s interesting is the ease with which Elisabeth Cann (pictured), currently the top singles player in England, tamed Pi who is known for her tenacity and running skills.  Very oddly, Pi took the lead only once which was the very opening point and never again.  Cann reeled off smash and net winners in excess of her more experienced and famous opponent and in half an hour it was all over 21-13, 21-12, with Pi, previously a champion, never threatening in the second game.

The home loss was an even worse disappointment for Pi after last week’s Denmark Open opening match dismissal to Petya Nedelcheva.  Not that the Bulgarian survived in singles on Thursday, either.  Had both players advanced it would have been a rematch but instead, Cann will go up against Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (pictured below).  The Thai, who turned 19 late last month, became the second woman from her nation to upset a European stalwart in as many weeks.

Asians Down European Seeds

If you believed the early mutterings about the Asian Games leaving the French Open poorer for the quality of Asian opposition then stand corrected because unseeded Asians present in France ruled the day against European seeds.  Surprisingly, both the recent Dutch Open women’s singles champion and Denmark Open men’s singles champion Jan O Jorgensen fell.  Perhaps it was fatigue attributable to their intense tournament commitments of late, especially for Schenk who has played 18 tournaments in the last year which is more than anyone else in the top 10 (and twice the number participated in by Jiang Yanjiao ranked two spots higher).

China’s Du Pengyu (pictured below), currently enjoying his highest ever world ranking at #17, is on a Danish odyssey.  He removed Viktor Axelsen on Wednesday, Jorgensen on Thursday, and faces Joachim Persson on Friday.  Is Persson’s lucky Chinese 8th seeding a forcefield?  Definitely a Day 4 match to watch, it will be their third meeting in as many years with it having gone to a deciding game on each occasion and the spoils split equally so far.

It was a good day for both Thai girls too, both advancing in straight games.  In addition to Porntip relieving Nedelcheva to concentrate on her inaugural Super Series top seed doubles duties, Salakjit Ponsana seems to be hitting a purple patch as she heads into next week’s Asian Games.  Salakjit made Holland’s Yao Jie her latest victim.

Fresh And Refreshed Faces

Adding to the large number of seeded upsets, this French Open is also turning out to be more entertaining than most other tournaments due the variety of fresh names or combinations coming to the fore.  Ajay Jayaram from India makes himself noticed after snuffing out the remaining Dutch hope in men’s singles, the experienced 7th seed Dicky Palyama, in 3 games.

Two Indonesian-European doubles combinations proved that great teamwork transcends language.  Indonesia’s Flandy Limpele coming back to men’s doubles is very a unexpected yet welcome sight, and he and Simon Mollyhus of Denmark were too good for England’s Langridge/Middelton.  Limpele is reknowned as one of the best and most versatile mixed doubles players in the world, but let’s remember he has made a name for himself in level doubles as he earned an Olympics bronze medal in Sydney.

In an interesting twist of fate, Limpele’s previous mixed partner Anastasia Russkikh (RUS) is now with Hendra Setiawan, a men’s doubles Olympic gold medallist but a relatively unknown quantity in mixed doubles, and they managed to beat the long practiced pairing of Pedersen/Fischer Nielsen.  Anugritayawon/Prapakamol (THA) were touched by the seeded player’s curse too and were easily ousted by Germany’s Ingo Kindervater (pictured below) and Johannes Schöttler 17-21, 17-21.

These wins from unexpected corners do a lot of good both for the whole badminton scene as well as those players in particular too.  The confidence of beating a seeded player goes a long way, it can for some players be a trophy in itself, and more significantly we could be looking at a major turning point in their careers.

Notable upsets:

Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (THA) def. Petya Nedelcheva (BUL)(7) 21-15, 21-16
Elisabeth Cann (ENG) def. Pi Hongyan (FRA)(3) 21-13, 21-12
Liu Xin (CHN) def. Juliane Schenk (GER)(5) 21-16, 21-17
Flandy Limpele (INA) / Simon Mollyhus (DEN) def. (ENG)  Chris Langridge / Robin Middleton (ENG)(8) 21-17, 21-11
Ingo Kindervater / Johannes Schöttler (GER) def. Songphon Anugritayawon / Sudket Prapakamol (THA)(7) 21-17, 21-17
Hendra Setiawan (INA)/Anastasia Russkikh (RUS) def. Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen(DEN)(5) 16-21, 21-10, 21-14
Jayaram Ajay (IND) def. Dicky Palyama (NED)(7) 21-19, 14-21, 21-15
Pengyu Du (CHN) def. Jan O Jorgensen (DEN)(4) 21-7 14-21 21-12

For complete results from Day 3 of the 2010 Yonex French Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @