MALAYSIA OPEN 2013 R16 – Ace the wind to ace the game

Mixed doubles first seeds Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying (pictured) survived the twist of events, while China’s scratch pair of Qiu Zihan / Zhao Yunlei ended their Malaysia […]

Mixed doubles first seeds Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying (pictured) survived the twist of events, while China’s scratch pair of Qiu Zihan / Zhao Yunlei ended their challenge by losing to Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen in the opening match this afternoon. Nozomi Okuhara successfully rewrote her head-to-head record against Lindaweni Fanetri to form a tie, as she outplayed the Indonesian in two games of 21-13 in revenge for Eriko Hirose, who failed to make it past her yesterday.

By Ooi Ee Lyn, Badzine Correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

The Putra Stadium seems to be turning notorious as the land of the wind, as the drift continued to make things hard perhaps for all the challengers of the day.   After earning a victory from Chan Tsz Ka, Chinese Taipei’s young and hopeful women’s singles star Tai Tzu Ying commented, “Playing here in this venue, I think it’s more about luck, because the wind is really strong.

Having beaten Chan of Hong Kong in straight games, Tai said, “There’s a major national tournament back at home this Sunday. It’s the most important tournament in our country, and I originally didn’t plan to come to Malaysia so I could play at home. But I thought if I hadn’t come, I’ll be further behind in world ranking points so I’m here, and I’ll just go as far as I can. To me, what matters more is the process of the match, not the outcome. If I were to win and not feel exhausted at all, I wouldn’t be happy; but if I lose feeling worn out, I’d feel good.

Tai’s opponent in the quarter-finals tomorrow would be Dane veteran Tine Baun (pictured) who defeated Chinese youngster Sun Yu in two straight games, to which Tai commented, “I saw them. I looked up at them, and it was as if I was watching two giants playing.

Despite being disadvantaged in terms of height, the 18-year-old stated, “I’ll just go with the flow. If I win more and make it to the finals, I’ll just do it; if I lose it here, I’ll go home and compete in the national tournament this Sunday.

Tai Tzu Ying will be the third top teenager in a row to stand in the way of Tine Baun’s attempt at a title in her last Malaysia Open.

On the other hand, recent World Junior Champion Nozomi Okuhara avoided the fate of having to lose thrice to Lindaweni Fanetri, as she breezed pass her in two quick games. The 17-year-old tried to converse with local journalists without the aid of English translation despite the presence of a Japanese translator. In English, she said, “I lost two, and won one [against Lindaweni Fanetri previously]. I think it was a difficult win. I lost in the Indonesia and India Grand Prix Gold, and I won today. I don’t want to lose three times. Now, my target is to push my world ranking to 24, so I can join the World Championships.”

Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal will be in the way of the young Japanese in the quarter-finals tomorrow. “I came here, just to win the Malaysian Open. I’ll try my best tomorrow,” said Saina.

Drifting… which way?

World #3 and mixed doubles first seeds Chan and Goh are glad to still be standing after two consecutive days of rubber games. The Malaysians ousted Mads Pieler Kolding – who Chan described as the “long man“, whose one step would make him run two steps – and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, to keep local crowd’s hopes high.

Goh, dressed in black and pink with matching knee straps and different coloured shoe laces on each sides, said, “Today’s game was better than yesterday, and my leg is getting better. However, with three matches two days in a row, it’s like cardio training for me. I feel my heartbeat stronger than [the injury on] my leg.”

Chan, on the other hand, commented on the drift like many other players did. “The wind today seemed to be drifting in the opposite direction from yesterday. It was very hard, and we were confused,” he said.

Fortunately, victory drifted their way so they could meet compatriots Tan Aik Quan / Lai Pei Jing in the quarter-finals tomorrow. The young father of one said, “Aik Quan and Pei Jing may be juniors, but we should not underestimate them.

Earlier in the evening, good news drifted on the wind into the hands of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen, as they sent Qiu Zihan / Zhao Yunlei packing by hammering their games in 21-19, 11-21, 21-11. “It was windy and hard to play. It wasn’t a match for both sides, and we needed the right tactics,” remarked Joachim Fischer Nielsen, not giving the blameful wind a break.

The exchange of partner did not go well for Zhao Yunlei, but Tang Jinhua, on the run with Zhao’s usual partner Zhang Nan, had her share of satisfaction as the pair defeated Chris Adcock and Gabrielle White of England. However, the bad news for Tang came later in the day, as she and Ma Jin (pictured) were upset and tossed out of the women’s doubles draw by Pradnya Gadre / Ashiwini Ponnappa, losing 24-22, 16-21, 19-21 in the empty stadium in the last match of the night.

Click here for complete Day 3 results

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