CHINA OPEN 2013 R16 – Sun sets on Saina

Day 3 of the Victor China Open was punctuated by some upsets perpetrated by some towering, unseeded shuttlers, beginning with Sun Yu’s victory over world #7 Saina Nehwal. By Kira […]

Day 3 of the Victor was punctuated by some upsets perpetrated by some towering, unseeded shuttlers, beginning with Sun Yu’s victory over world #7 Saina Nehwal.

By Kira Rin.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The tall Sun Yu (pictured) unsettled 6th seed Saina Nehwal, as her long reach effortlessly negated Saina’s pinpoint attacks.  Saina was able to grab the first game with her precision attacks; however Sun Yu took her reach further to negate the shots and keep the shuttle flying back into the Indian’s court.

Frustration could be seen on Saina’s face as she sought to understand the strategy laid out before her and possible counters to it.  Nearing the end of the final game, Sun had to call for doctor to treat her knee, but Saina could be seen clearly irritated and voicing her concerns to the referee that Sun was taking too long with her treatment.  Despite the injury treatment, Sun proceeded to strike home the last few points to take the match over a frustrated Saina.

Tommy Sugiarto found himself facing another towering Chinese underdog by the name of Wang Zhengming (pictured).  Wang was the first to strike, utilizing his smashes to keep Tommy under pressure.  By then, Tommy was getting accustomed to the pace and worked furiously to put forward high-speed attacks of his own to gain the second game.

To answer this, Wang switched to more tactical play, forcing good opportunities for smashes to strike home.  Tommy had no answer to the tactical before him and despite his best efforts, which did allow him to level the deciding game, the Indonesian could only watch as Wang struck the last 3 points home.

Chen Long kept the Chinese flag high in men’s singles as he staved off a challenge from Son Wan Ho.  Starting the match with a strong pace wasn’t enough to faze Chen, who stepped back with even swifter pace to match shot for shot and push home the deciding points.

In the men’s doubles, it was a pair of European giants who got into the upset racket.  Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov (pictured below) scored their first win over former world #1 pair Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong.

Fresh off beating the second seeds, Hoon Thien How and Tan Wee Kiong continued their dream run by beating the new Korean pairing of Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol.  However, the Malaysians had to put in more effort to the match as they dropped the opening game and had to fight hard to secure the remaining two.  They will meet the Russians in Friday’s quarter-final round and have a realistic shot at squeezing into the top 8 of the rankings in time to qualify for the finals at home next month.

Elsewhere in the men’s doubles round of 16, a very interesting matchup saw, on one side, Cai Yun of China and on the other side, Fu Haifeng of China.  The former partners faced off against each other with their junior partners – Chai Baio and Hong Wei respectively – to complement them.

Each knew the other too well, leading to mind games of ever-changing tactics and anticipation of the next move.  Often, one would try hitting at his younger opponent in an attempt to unsettle the partnership between the two.  Cai proved to be smarter of the two today as he emerged victorious with Chai Biao within 2 games.

The closest matches of the day came in mixed doubles.  First was the down-to-the-wire two-game victory for Chan/Goh over Germany’s Fuchs/Michels, which ended 30-28 in the second game.  Then Adcock/White needed a spurt at the end to sprint past Yoo/Jang of Korea after an hour-long battle.

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