SUPERSERIES FINALS 2014 Day 2 – When it rains walkovers, it pours

Another rain of walkovers struck the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai, first with recent Hong Kong Open Superseries winner Son Wan ho, quickly followed by the Asian Games gold medallist […]

Another rain of walkovers struck the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai, first with recent Hong Kong Open winner Son Wan ho, quickly followed by the Asian Games gold medallist Wang Yihan bidding their early farewell to this year-end party.

By Tarek Hafi.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto

The short break after Hong Kong open didn’t seem to have healed all the injuries and wounds as players keep on withdrawing from the season-ending BWF Destination Dubai World , leaving the draw orphaned of some of its best stars.  On the first day, it was two doubles pairs but on Thursday, it was two singles players who had to back out.

Indeed, Wang Yihan was not able to go on with her match against Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying (pictured).  The Asian Games gold medallist approached the umpire at the second mid-game interval, pointing at her back.  She thus gave up her chances to win the gold in Dubai.

Meanwhile, Korea’s Son Wan Ho seemed to have expended way too much energy Wednesday against Hans Kristian Vittinghus and pulled out of his match against Kenichi Tago, citing a hamstring injury sustained the day before.

Wang’s fall

Top seed Wang Shixian is surely biting her fingers at the moment.  She suffered a second loss in a row, this time against Korea’s Bae Yeon Ju (pictured), probably annihilating her chance to reach the last four in Dubai.  And the Korean took only forty-one minutes to dispose of the Chinese jewel, a first for the world #8 since their junior days.

Wang Shixian will now get a final match against Sung Ji Hyun, while Bae Yeon Ju is playing Saina Nehwal for a place in the semis.  Wang can still hope for a three-way tie for 2nd place, if she can beat Sung and Bae loses to Nehwal.  Meanwhile, Saina is not out of the woods as both Koreans could win to create a three-way tie atop the group table.

World #1s beaten

Witnessing Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan leaving the tournament probably added some extra pressure on Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong as they suffered an unexpected loss to Chai Biao and Hong Wei (pictured), in straight games 21-16,  21-18. Yoo Yeon Seong, who just came back from a European trip with his fiancée, went through a tough transition in this encounter, losing for the first time against the Chinese world #7.

Showing unusual frustration on court, the Koreans never seemed able to come back and change the fate of the match. The Koreans will now sit for a day after the Indonesian’s withdrawal, but will certainly watch closely the awaited match starring their compatriots Ko Sung Hyun / Shin Baek Cheol against their new Chinese nemeses.

Newcomers for the title?

Akane Yamaguchi and Kidambi Srikanth (pictured) now definitely have an eye on the trophy, as each added another win against a world class player on the second day of competition.

Akane Yamaguchi gave her all best to send away former World Champion Ratchanok Intanon as she completely exhausted her opponent by pulling off some extremely fit play, getting back every possible shuttle, and leaving no chance to the Thai super star, winning by a final score of 21-15, 16-21, 21-12.

Recent China Open winner Srikanth never seemed at any time worried or pressured by the world #8 Tommy Sugiarto as he swept him away 21-18, 21-13 in only thirty-four minutes.  Tommy, the last Indonesian with a shot at the semis, now has to hope to come out on top of a three-way tie at the bottom of his group.

Srikanth, meanwhile looks even more like a possible contender for the title than he did after stunning the world in the last tournaments.  The Indian will now take on Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen, who suffered a tough loss against Kento Momota in his second group match.

Click here for complete Thursday results

About Tarek Hafi