FRENCH OPEN 2012 R16 – Heroic Hirose!

Eriko Hirose continued her recent return to Superseries badminton form by beating Wang Shixian in a very tough encounter, while Peter Gade gave his supporters another scare before his ample […]

Eriko Hirose continued her recent return to badminton form by beating Wang Shixian in a very tough encounter, while Peter Gade gave his supporters another scare before his ample experience put him back onto the winning road against India’s Ajay Jayaram. Korea, too, had fortune on their side, sending all their pairs to the quarterfinals.

By Tarek Hafi, Badzine Correspondent live in Paris.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live)

The very athletic Eriko Hirose (pictured) used up all Wang Shixian’s energy to gain a symbolic place in the quarter-final.  While the Japanese veteran and her opponent were both deprived of the chance to play in the Olympic Games, with Hirose, it was a recurrent injury that prevented her from playing during the Olympic qualification period.

However, it didn’t start too well for the Japanese shuttler as Wang Shixian took control in the first game, displaying fantastic technique and tactics to gain the opener 21-13.  Unfortunately, the match couldn’t have gone worse for the players, as both were struck with misfortunes and each disputed several line calls, leading to many discussions with the umpire. Despite the misfortunes, Eriko kept her head right and got on with her powerful attacking play, battling to get every shuttle onto the other side.

Eriko Hirose, frustrated again with two line calls against her, let the former world number one coming back into the match, rendering it absolutely unbearable physically and mentally. At 19-19 in the rubber, the mental fight began in earnest as both committed mistakes to bring up 20-all. Eriko walked around the court, breathed deeply and rushed to finish the match 13-21, 21-18, 22-20. Hirose will meet Chan Tsz Ka from Hong Kong for a place in semi-final.

Peter postpones his farewell

Badminton legend Peter Gade scared himself against India’s Ajay Jayaram (pictured), until the Dane managed to find his way out of the his opponent’s net.  Indeed, it couldn’t have started any better for the fast Indian player, who took every possible opportunity to create an important gap between him and Gade. Playing the right tactics at the right time, the Indian player quickly took a 17-8 lead in the opening game.

I was really frustrated because I came prepared for this match and Ajay played so well and is so good at breaking the rhythm but I knew that if I continued to play rallies I would have the edge on him,” commented Peter Gade after his match.

And the Dane was right, as he even came close to getting the first game by commanding rallies. Though it wasn’t enough to close out the game, Peter Gade settled his game to rush for the win.

I was close to winning the first game and it was frustrating but then I started to play much better. I wish I would have started like that from the beginning but I was confident I could go for the win.  This was really a fighting win.

His victory came with the crowd’s support.  Knowing Peter Gade came here only to say a last goodbye to his beloved French crowd, they supported him throughout the match to conclude it 18-21, 21-17, 21-14. Peter Gade will now get the hard task of playing his on-form compatriot Jan O. Jorgensen, who advanced to the quarter-finals by beating Thailand’s best, Boonsak Ponsana.

Korea’s new power

The restructuring of the Korean pairs after the Olympics seemed to be working out pretty well so far, as all four remaining pairs progressed through their second round matches to reach the quarter-finals.  However, Shin Baek Cheol and Eom Hye Won, defending Universiade champions, spent no small amount of energy on court against Tao Jiaming and Tang Jinhua, saving two match points in the rubber game to edge out the Thai Open winners.

In the last game, the point was to remain very focused on our rallies, not to think too much about the scoring, but to put the shuttle down, commented Shin Baek Cheol, very happy with his performance today.

Shin and Eom were then joined by all of their compatriots playing in the draw today.  Lee Yong Dae (pictured) and Ko Sung Hyun took three games to put down Thais Chalardchaleam and Puangpuapech while Japan Super Series winners Kim Sa Rang and Kim Ki Jung also joined in later in the evening while the final addition to the party was young women’s double pair Choi Hye In and Kim So Young, who followed their upset of Japan Open winners Poon/Tse with a win over England’s Smith/White.

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About Tarek Hafi