AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2012 R32 – Wang Lin Survives Early Exit Scare

Paris World Champion Wang Lin squealed politely with joy as she staved off a potential first round exit at the Australian Open by tumbling an unreturnable netshot at 19-19, one […]

Paris World Champion Wang Lin squealed politely with joy as she staved off a potential first round exit at the by tumbling an unreturnable netshot at 19-19, one game down, and coming from behind.

By Aaron Wong, live from Sydney. Photos:  Andrew Greenway, Courtesy of Badminton Australia (live)

Nineteen-all and what happened before…

In denying Adrianti Firdasari (pictured below) a match point in the most remarkable of ways, which the Indonesian had been working diligently towards for more than half an hour, Wang Lin (pictured) vitally broke the concentration of her opponent.  When Wang played the unbelievable shot to simultaneously keep her hopes alive and end her opponent’s dream run of 31 points without losing the lead, the delighted shouts of the local Chinese spectators filled the stadium.

The Firdasari-versus-Wang match was always one to circle as soon as the draw was released showing her route commencing from the qualifying rounds, and the reality did not disappoint.

The Indonesian lady has long been a quality player and the homework she had done to prepare for this match was evident.  In the first game, she was working the rallies precisely and time after time found the winners and the touch on the shuttle that she wanted.

Tweet Megastar

The Chinese badminton star, who is the most Tweeted about player of this tournament by what feels like a multiple of ten, was not playing badly and kept on the coattails of her opponent but was unable to get in front because her attempted winners just could not find the floor.

Wang was moving around the court with ease, with no evidence of favouring any particular corner of the court due to her previous left ACL injury, and she was powerfully hitting the shuttle a good length with ease.

Firdasari was clearly unsurprised and ready for all this, and exploited Wang’s only minor defect which was insufficiently high enough drive clearing shots as the Indonesian is not short herself.  All credit to Wang, she played not one loose shot nor appeared disspirited as she hung on after losing the first game and clawing back to equalise at 19-19 in the second game.

The Chinese lady raced to a 6-1 lead within a matter of minutes in the deciding game, which was a combination of finding the sweet spot on her smash followed by a swift cross net put away shot and the Indonesian opponent having too much on her mind such that she began to overplay her strokes out of urgency. It was the kind of match you’d hate to see either player lose but in the end, the tournament favourite prevailed 19-21, 21-19, 21-14, in a tense encounter lasting exactly one hour.

A Champion’s Outlook

Asked whether she was happy to win, she disagreed on pragmatic grounds:  “It was part of my plan to go further in this tournament, and a victory like this is part of my mission.”  In other words, she was also saying she expects of herself to be able to manage this level of player as well as more often than not succeed at critical junctures such as her 19-19 second game moment.

Firdasari was one of three Indonesian ladies playing on adjacent courts at the same time, all of whom were looking on course to triumph, but only Aprilia Yuswandari (pictured left) advanced to the round of 16, with a 17-21, 21-15, 22-20 win over Japan’s Eriko Hirose.  Lindaweni Fanetri ultimately went down to Sayako Sato 21-18, 22-24, 18-21 in an hour and eighteen minutes.

Goes to show you just never know.

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 @