SS FINALS 2011 Day 1 – Sung and Jung come through in the clutch

Day 1 of the Li-Ning BWF World Super Series Finals saw bookend wins for Koreans, against the odds as underdog Sung Ji Hyun and injured Jung Jae Sung came from […]

Day 1 of the Li-Ning BWF World Super Series Finals saw bookend wins for Koreans, against the odds as underdog Sung Ji Hyun and injured Jung Jae Sung came from behind to begin with a win.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Sung Ji Hyun (pictured) began 2011 having never beaten a first-string Chinese player but as the year closes she has recorded victories over all four Wangs, in addition to Liu Xin and Jiang Yanjiao.

Not only did the Korea Grand Prix Gold champion come back from a game down but she also fought back from 6-point deficits in the second and third games before she finally took the win over world #1 Wang Yihan with a 10-2 run to the finish line.

Both players struggled with the draught in the hall in Liuzhou as they were the first to play on the centre court in the tournament but as the match wore on, the windward side became the most heavily worn and the rallies longer and more exciting.

The rest of the afternoon served up plenty of hard-fought, three-game wins but all for the favourites until the final pair of men’s doubles matches that completed the afternoon’s proceedings.  In these, Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng and Ko Sung Hyun / Yoo Yeon Seong, first and fourth seeds respectively, both came out on the losing end of their encounters.

Cai/Fu narrowly lost what was only their second meeting in international competition with compatriots Chai Biao and Guo Zhendong (pictured).  Ko/Yoo kept the first two close but were torn apart by Japan’s Hashimoto/Hirata in the decider.

Evening seeds bend but don’t break

In the evening session, Lee Chong Wei (pictured), Tian/Zhao, Boe/Mogensen, and Chen/Cheng dropped a game each but held on to take their victories in three.

Denmark’s Pedersen/Rytter Juhl nearly lost their composure when the umpire failed to call a double-hit on Tian/Zhao late in the second game.  While they felt they should have been up 20-14, the occasion instead gave the Chinese pair a window to sneak up and tie the game at 20-all before the Danes finally put it away.

As with Lee Chong Wei’s finish in the previous match against Sho Sasaki, however, the final game was all China and they won it 21-14.

Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat, still higher than his opponent Tago Kenichi on the world rankings, if not on the Super Series ladder, took his first against the Japanese shuttler but fell apart in the third as Tago romped to a 21-7 victory.

Despite rumours of their withdrawal, not only did Korea’s Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae stay in the tournament, but they also provided a thrilling finish to the day on the TV court.

With Jung favouring his shoulder, Lee Yong Dae assumed the role of power man in the backcourt, and indeed seemed to be just about everywhere.  This wasn’t enough in the first game but in the second and third, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong could not match the Koreans’ intensity.

Seeing the Malaysians take the advantage early in the third, Jung Jae Sung stepped up – or rather, back – to do some of his usual heavy hitting as Lee Yong Dae usurped the net area from Koo Kien Keat.  Despite his reliance all evening on his trademark deceptive drop, Jung was able to catch the Malaysians a few times with it late in the match as the latter were pushed back in the court defending against the Korean barrage.

The fact that this is the strongest field yet for a Super Series Finals is attested to by the competitiveness of the opening day action.  All told, only seven of the twenty Wednesday matches were over in two games and eight were past or just shy of the hour mark.

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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 @