CHINA OPEN 2013 R32 – Unexpected early victors

Main draw action at the 2013 Victor China Open Superseries Premier started with a slew of upsets of seeds, veterans, and seeded veterans in what was an especially bad day […]

Main draw action at the 2013 Victor Premier started with a slew of upsets of seeds, veterans, and seeded veterans in what was an especially bad day for Europe.

By Kira Rin.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The price of being a well-known top player is that everyone else will be watching their matches closely to discern their strategy and develop tactics based on the information.  Thus, in order to reach a final, this most especially applies to the first few rounds of the tournament, where players may against opponents they are not familiar with and must come up with counter tactics on the fly to defeat the strategy planned against them.

Japan’s rising left-hander, Kento Momota (pictured) edged out Marc Zwiebler, playing a fast and furious game, that the German couldn’t keep pace with.  The helpless Zwiebler was left to retrieve every shot in an effort to simply get the shuttle back over the net.  One such dive forced him to call a medic to patch up his foot.

Jan O Jorgenson (pictured) had the ultimate reversal of luck, as the just recently crowned French Open champion was deposed by its former champion, Liew Daren in just 2 games.  Jan had no answer for the shots as Daren played majestically, as if to reclaim his dignity as a previous champion.

8th seed Boonsak Ponsana was the first of the seeded players to fall.  He went down against India’s Kashyap Parupalli, who played a step faster to keep the edge over his opponent.  Boonsak pushed forward his never-say-die playing style, keeping the pressure down.  However Kashyap was able to keep pace and land in a few shots of his own to score the critical points.

Ladies’ favourites put to the test

Ratchanok Intanon had a harder time as she dropped the opening game, stretching her speed and stamina to last over 3 games to progress into the next round at the expense of Chen Xiaojia.  Impressive speed was not able to account for the well-placed shots that also effectively drained stamina, and Ratchanok had to play a calculative game to conserve her reserves.  Chen, who was playing her first international match since retiring from last November’s Hong Kong Open, still performed beyond expectations.

Sung Ji Hyun had a hard time, fighting not just against her opponent Suo Di – whom she had beaten easily at home last week – but also, this time, against the home crowd support, as the Shanghai fans cheered loudly for every point Suo got.  Despite losing confidence over line calls and dropping the opening game, Sung was able to regain her composure and look past the line calls to focus on the match as a whole.  Even so, both players actively disputed close line calls, often drawing the umpire’s attention to such calls.

Despite Tai Tzu Ying being the one within the top 10 rankings, Porntip Buranaprasertsuk has proven to be a constant thorn in her playing history, as Tai has yet to find a way to defeat her nemesis.  Today proved no different as Porntip executed well-placed shots to drain Tai’s energy and concentration.  Tai could not find the strokes to get out of the sticky situation and bowed out tamely with only a total of 28 points to her credit in the tournament.

Elsewhere in women’s singles, China had a collection of upsets, including Gu Juan of Singapore losing to 16-year-old He Bingjiao, Juliane Schenk going down to Yao Xue (pictured), and Han Li beating last week’s Korea Grand Prix Gold winner and series leader Bae Yeon Ju.

Meanwhile, in men’s doubles, it was a clash of Olympic champions, but with different partners

Lee Yong Dae had the luck of the draw to face off against Hendra Setiawan, this time with their new respective partners, Yoo Yeon Seong and Mohammad Ahsan (pictured).  Rallies became exchanges of tactics to claim offense from defense, as both champions sought to put down the shuttle, with support from their partners.  Lee Yong Dae’s youth and speed proved to be the deciding factor as he constantly kept the pressure on the top-seeded Indonesians, who were forced to concede defeat despite the experience.

Soon afterward, Malaysia’s Hoon Thien How / Tan Wee Kiong followed up their surprise removal of Lee/Yoo in France with a first-round upset of none other than second seeds Boe/Mogensen.  They will get a chance to cut another new Korean pair down to size when they play Ko/Shin in the second round.

Mixed doubles was the only area where European pairs had a respectable showing, sending 5 of 8 pairs to the next round.

Click here for complete Day 2 results

About Kira Rin