WORLDS 2013 Day 1 – Denmark nearly perfect

Team Denmark was very nearly undefeated on Day 1 of the Wang Lao Ji BWF World Badminton Championships but try as he might, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus couldn’t find his way past […]

Team Denmark was very nearly undefeated on Day 1 of the Wang Lao Ji BWF World Badminton Championships but try as he might, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus couldn’t find his way past Tommy Sugiarto.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Guangzhou.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Denmark was very close to duplicating China’s feat by having all competitors advance past the first hurdle at in Guangzhou on Monday.  Mads Pieler Kolding and Kamilla Rytter Juhl had started things off with a straight-game mixed doubles win, followed by Viktor Axelsen scoring one of his own.

Things got trickier for Denmark late in the day, however, with the two men’s singles battles in particular.  In one, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (pictured) – who has struggled in this year’s big tournaments – had a chance to upset 8th-seeded Tommy Sugiarto.  In the other, Denmark’s #1 Jan O Jorgensen had to work to fend off the challenge from Korean #1 Lee Dong Keun.

Vittinghus’s match finished only moments earlier than Jorgensen’s.  Vittinghus fought back from one game down and then trailing 9-11 at the third game interval, he played some thrilling rallies and took the lead back at 16-15 before finally having to watch Tommy Sugiarto (pictured) sail by to the finish line.

“I tried not to think about who I was playing.  You don’t really care when it’s 16-all,” said Hans-Kristian Vittinghus after the match.  “You have to try to play your own game.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s Lee Chong Wei or Tommy.

“I just tried to focus on doing the things I set out to do beforehand with my coach but I just didn’t have the quality in the end.  Also, he had a bit of luck on important points.  One was a net cord and another I had the opportunity to kill and made an error.  That was mental.

“The last 3 weeks of preparation have been really good.  At first I had trouble with my groin and with my knee when I got back from the Indonesia Open but the last three weeks, I’ve been very positive and I was very close to beating the world #8 so I have that but at the moment it is very disappointing.”

This is, of course the first World Championships since 1993 without the great Peter Gade as part of the Danish contingent.  “He made 9 quarter-finals.  That’s quite a legacy to live up to,” commented Vittinghus.

“For the first six months, it was strange he was not around but to be honest, not any more.  He is actually in the national training centre once in a while to spar with us.  Now, though, we are concentrating on building our game and I think that me, Viktor and Jan are doing a good job of following in his path, even though I haven’t had the best year.

“I’m not going to play any more tournaments for the next two months, until the London Grand Prix Gold because I’m doing some studies and an internship.  Given the history I’ve had in the last six months with injuries, it’s probably a good thing that I’m getting a break to relax.”

Less than a minute after Sugiarto celebrated winning his first World Championship match, Jan O Jorgensen was pounding out the last of four consecutive points to end the inaugural campaign by Korea’s Lee Dong Keun.  This was a disappointment both for Lee and for his team, which had already lost the only other competitor, Son Wan Ho, earlier in the day.  For Denmark, Jorgensen was delighted to join his 19-year-old compatriot Viktor Axelsen (pictured) in the second round.

“Lee played well and took some chances,” said Jan O Jorgensen (pictured) after his match.  “I tried to rush it too much in the second game and I needed to calm down and just play around because if we just play, I’m better than him and in the third game, after the break, I found a new gear.

“Lee did well in the Sudirman Cup.  He is a young guy and the young Koreans, you know.  Lee Hyun Il and Park Sung Hwan have retired so all the focus is on him and Son Wan Ho so he will be a good player, that’s for sure.  He will be one to watch out for.

“He already played the singles in the Sudirman Cup and it was my first time as well and I’m 25 and he is a younger guy.  You gain experience by doing it and it also shows that his coaches have confidence in him.  Tomorrow will be more of the same.  It’s the World Championships and you expect tough matches.”

Jorgensen also commented on the state of the men’s singles event in general in these World Championships:  “It’s really good to see Lin Dan back.  I watched his match on TV in the hotel.  It is a pleasure to watch him play.

“I know it’s probably not a good thing to stand here and say that about your opponent but I have a thing about him and Lee Hyun Il and Taufik and Peter as well.  It’s just amazing to watch these guys play.  But of course, I want to get to play him.  If I do it will mean I’ve done really well here because that would be in the semi-finals.”

Immediately afterward, Denmark had another tough first-round contest as Line Damkjaer Kruse   and Marie Roepke sent former World Championship semi-finalist Ashwini Ponnappa of India home early after three close games.  Before coming up short in the women’s doubles with new partner Pradnya Gadre, the Indian star had already lost a close one in the mixed early in the day.

Indonesia, meanwhile, lost both of its veterans in the men’s singles as Simon Santoso went down to Hsu Jen Hao and Sony Dwi Kuncoro became one of only two seeded casualties on the day when he lost to Singapore’s Derek Wong (pictured).  However, Tommy was joined by Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka, who won in the last match of the day.

Click here for complete Day 1 results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @