SINGAPORE OPEN 2012 R16 – I DAREn you stop me

On the third day of the Li Ning Singapore Open and as hot as the weather outside the SIS arena, a hotly-contested men’s singles match in the afternoon  saw Liew […]

On the third day of the Li Ning and as hot as the weather outside the SIS arena, a hotly-contested men’s singles match in the afternoon  saw Liew Daren of Malaysia create another upset, showing second-seeded Lee Hyun Il the exit.

By Timothy Chan, Badzine Correspondent reporting live from Singapore.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

A jubilant world #31 Liew Daren (pictured) has made it to Friday’s quarter-final, his success coming from his strategy of playing more attacks.  Daren scored more smash-winner points than his opponent, especially in the first and third games.  It took him 55 minutes to beat the Korean 21-18, 12-21, 21-13.

The Malaysian had played Lee in three previous encounters and his win in Singapore has levelled their head-to-head record to 2-2.  Daren, who is going to be one of the three sparring singles players for the Olympics, is overjoyed that he had achieved his quarter-final target in Singapore.  On the other side, Lee Hyun Il said that he is kind of slower in his play and this  affected his control.

Tomorrow Daren will face world #11 Nguyen Tien Minh (pictured) of Vietnam, who beat Ajay Jayaram of India easily 21-15, 21-14.  Daren who had lost all previous three encounters against Tien Minh hopes to chalk up his first win against the Vietnamese.  “ The challenge for me tomorrow will be my ability to contain Tien Minh’s fast pace,” said Daren.

Making it a double joy for the Malaysian camp, Chong Wei Feng also cruised into the quarters after beating Hu Yun of Hong Kong easily 21-17, 21-14.  World #37 Chong is also happy to have achieved a quarter-final target for this tournament.

Chong will meet one of the title contenders world # 17 Wang Zhengming of China, who registered the second men’s singles upset of the day when he beat third seed Kenichi Tago of Japan 17-21, 21-17, 21-16.

So after the exit of first seed Sho Sasaki last night, all the first, second and third seeds in men’s singles have failed to progress to the quarter-finals and bid goodbye to the Singapore Open.

London-bound Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand, unlike many who are focused on the multi-sport even that kicks of next month, has not skipped this Open and has instead set his sights on winning the men’s singles title in Singapore.  Boonsak had a great outing today, beating Gurusaidutt of India 21-12, 21-8.  The Thai, who is going for his fourth successive Olympiad, will meet Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka of Indonesia who beat compatriot Tommy Sugiarto 21-19, 21-17.

Men’s doubles also got upset leh…

The men’s doubles day also virtually began with an upset, when unseeded Christian John Skovgaard and 2.05m tall Mads Pieler Kolding (pictured) of Denmark overcame 5th seed Fang Chieh Ming / Lee Sheng Mu in a tight and hard-fought match.  Despite failing to convert 5 match point opportunities in the second game, the Danes held on to win it 21-18, 24-26, 21-13 and march into the quarter-final.

This world #66 Danish pair will meet another unseeded pair, Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hakayawa of Japan.  The Japanese beat former World Junior Champions Chooi Kah Ming / Ow Yao Han of Malaysia 21-16, 21-10.

Another upset in men’s doubles match, which brought joy to Malaysia, came when the unseeded pair of Goh V Shem / Lim Khim Wah sent no. 7 seeds Naoki Kawamae / Shoji Sato crashing out of the competition, winning tightly at 21-15, 17-21, 21-16.

Tomorrow this world # 26 Malaysian pair will meet one of the hot favourites for the title in fourth-seeded Markis Kido / Hendra Setiawan, who also had a closely-fought tough match to beat Hoon Thien How / Tan Wee Kiong of Malaysia 10-21, 21-14, 21-18.

Local shuttlers keep the Singapore flag flying

Olympic-bound seventh seeds Yao Lei / Shinta Mulia Sari (pictured) join six other pairs of elite, seeded players in Friday’s women’s doubles quarter-finals, to ensure that Team Singapore will still be in action tomorrow in the final eight.

But their success on Thursday in front of a 5000-strong crowd did not come easy, especially with Yao Lei nursing a knee injury.  The local favourites labouriously beat Poon Lok Yan / Tse Ying Suet of Hong Kong 21-19, 12-21, 21-5.

Both Yao and Shinta are satisfied with their performance today, having coped well with the same old draft in SIS, kept up their communication on court, and also changed strategy as needed as the games move along.  The pair attributed their hard-earned win to all these factors.  They are now prepared to meet 4th seed Japanese pair of Miyuki Maeda / Satoko Suetsuna.  On record, they had beaten the Japanese pair before and so this will be a psychological advantage to meet them in a mouthwatering quarter-final.

Another Singaporean to keep the Singapore flag continue flying is world #49 Xing Aiying, who beat new foreign-talent compatriot Liang Xiaoyu (pictured below) 21-19, 21-10.

“I am happy to win today to make it to the quarter-final, although it is against my fellow team-mate,” said Aiying.  “I am going to prepare well and do my best tomorrow against Yip Pui Yin.”

The rest of the Singaporean shuttlers had to go up against some of the top seed players at the tournament with Chen Jiayuan failing to get past fourth seed Cheng Shao Chieh, as the Chinese Taipei player won a closely fought 13-21, 21‐17, 21-11 match.

“I am disappointed with my loss today and this will motivate me to work harder for future tournaments,” said Jiayuan.

In another women’s singles clash providing local interest, her compatriot, Fu Mingtian, went down 17-21, 18-21 to third seed South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun despite putting up a good fight.  Asked how she feels about today’s match, Fu said: “During the first half, I was in good condition and felt that I did well in the first half.  But I was rushing to win, causing myself to commit errors.

“The same happened for the second game.  When I tried and managed to catch up with my opponent, I committed errors again.”

Tomorrow is TGIF! and hopefully more Singaporeans will spend their TGIF afternoon and night to kindly come and support their local stars who stand a good chance of progressing to Saturday’s semi-finals.

Click here for complete Thursday results

About Suetyan Lee