SINGAPORE OPEN 2012 R32 – One down three up for local shuttlers

This week’s Li Ning Singapore Open Superseries concludes the last Superseries tournament before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games.  Every player was playing very hard on court, many eager […]

This week’s Li Ning concludes the last tournament before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games.  Every player was playing very hard on court, many eager to earn as many as points they could before the start of the Olympic Games. Singapore student cheers for local shuttlers filled an otherwise quiet hall as main round play began early Wednesday.

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

The stadium was so quiet in the morning as not many local supporters had made the trip to Singapore Indoor Stadium.  But just when one might have thought it was still too early, a group of Young Team Singapore Ambassadors – a group organized by the Singapore Sports Council – proved that expectation wrong with some crazy cheering for the Singapore team right from the toss and breaking into loud applause at the first shot.  The first matches on courts today involved mostly local shuttlers. Gu Juan (pictured left), Chen Jiayuan, Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Chayut Triyachart were all tested in the early morning matches.

Gu Juan was an early misfortunate, losing to Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (pictured below) in two straight games 18-21, 20-22. Porntip started the first game well as a lot of her cross-court drop shots fell on the line, with Gu unable to get them. Towards the end of the second game, when Porntip was leading 20-18, before the game was to be continued, a can fell from the video scoreboard which is located directly above the court! Everyone was shocked and stunned, especially the two players on court.  A few seconds had to be wasted before the game could be carried on.

Porntip got her first match point at 20-19 and should have won the game at 21-19 when a shuttle hit by Gu was obviously out. The line judge said the shuttle had landed in but the umpire did not overrule the call. Porntip showed unhappy dissatisfaction on her face. However, this bad line call did not affect her mood and in the end she won the second game 22-20.

Gu said after the match, “My opponent played fiercely today. I had little chance to attack. I am feeling nervous and uncertain because this is my first match of this tournament. However, my achievement today is far more from what I’d targeted before the tournament kick-off.

“Furthermore, the wind is very strong in the stadium. I couldn’t control well. Nevertheless, my loss today will not affect my Olympic Games confidence. I hope I can do well in the women doubles match later.”

Almost to agree with what Gu had said regarding the strong draught, Porntip sneezed twice when walking towards the players’ lounge.

With one local hopeful down, another local shuttler, Chen Jiayuan (pictured below), upset veteran Yao Jie of the Netherlands in 55 minutes to bring the joy to the Young Ambassadors. Chen won her first meeting against Yao by clinching a win of 24-22, 16-21, 21-15.

Chen already looked very tired in the first game because there were many long rallies in between. But she was the one that reached the first game point of the match, she didn’t win it until Yao made a mistake on the net when she was trying to hit a deceptive return on the net. What a turn-around for Yao in game 2, though.  Chen’s tons of mistakes caused her to give away her second game to Yao. There was a bit delay before the start of the third game because the technical staff was fixing some carpet issues on the court. In the third game, Chen’s aggressive play paid dividends, eventually she wrapped up the match with a 21-15 win in the decider.

“Overall, I am still satisfied with my performance today. I fight more when I play against players who are stronger than me,” said Chen after the match. When asked who she would prefer to play with tomorrow – Cheng Shao Chieh or Han Li – she answered:  “Neither one because they are too strong.”

In other action, local shuttlers Chrisnanta/Triyachart and Xing Aiying also won their first round matches today in the local indoor stadium. Chrisnanta/Triyachart defeated Kok Zheng Yi/Kong Keat Zhen 21-15, 21-16 whereas Xing defeated Belgium top women’s singles player Lianne Tan 21-11, 21-14.

Click here for complete Wednesday results

About Suetyan Lee