SUPERSERIES FINALS 2014 Day 1 – Warning for China, Denmark strikes

Both Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan stumbled on the very first day of the Destination Dubai – BWF Superseries Finals, which means both will have to give their absolute best […]

Both Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan stumbled on the very first day of the Destination Dubai – BWF Finals, which means both will have to give their absolute best in their next group matches. Indonesia lost, in the same day, their top men’s and women’s doubles pairs due to injuries, leaving all the country’s chances on their men’s singles and mixed doubles.

By Tarek Hafi.  Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

La creme de la creme didn’t miss out their rendezvous in Dubai for the 2014 season’s big finale, where the best eight players and pairs of each category were selected to fight for the ultimate title. And it was the U.A.E’s biggest and most prominent city Dubai which was to welcome the event. It seemed a questionable choice from the BWF at first as the United Arab Emirates does not have a national badminton federation and the interest from local spectators was not obvious, but the bid revealed to be a thoughtful choice with quite an amazing welcoming for players and officials and a perfect setting in the brand new stadium in Dubai.

Chinese ladies stumble

China’s Head Coach Li Yongbo is certainly not on a serene mood at the moment, witnessing his dear protegees losing the grip on the women’s singles event, when they used to outrageously to dominate the field. Both Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan stumbled to their non-Chinese opponents rendering the absence of the Olympic Champion, Li Xuerui, heavily noticeable.

Wang Shixian’s nemesis Saina Nehwal beat her again in straight games taking once again the lead in her head-to-head record with the number one seed in Dubai. Benefiting from a large Indian crowd present in the hall, a very imaginative Saina Nehwal used all the shots in the book to come out first on the opening day of the competition 21-17, 21-18.

The third session of the day saw the other Chinese queen, Wang Yihan (photo) stumbling to the current rising star Akane Yamaguchi. The young Japanese player proved once again she’s here to play a leading role and was declared at the same time contender for the title in Dubai after her win over the Asian Games champion 21-16, 17-21, 21-15.

Denmark’s men’s received loud and clear

On the other hand, Denmark’s top men’s singles player Jan 0 Jorgensen and Hans Kristian Vittinghus did come prepared to brave their world class opponents on the very first game of the group stage encounter. First on court on Wednesday, world #3 Jan O Jorgensen completely humiliated Tommy Sugiarto in half an hour for their very first encounter despite both have been top ten residents for some years now. Meanwhile, Hans Kristian Vittinghus (photo) knew exactly who Son Wan Ho was, having played him on a few occasions but been unable to score a victory. However, the twenty-eight year-old Dane stunned the world #4 and recent winner of the Hong Kong Open in a surprising straight-game victory.

“This is a great start for me in this tournament as I had never been able to beat him before,” said the Dane.

Indonesians plagued by injuries

Indonesia has lost two title contenders, as both women’s and men’s doubles Asian Games gold medallists were forced to pull out of the season finale after being struck with injuries while playing on court. Greysia Polii and Nitya Maheswari Krishinda (photo) were first to undergo their fate’s rule, as Nitya was suddenly hit with a resistant cramp after an hour and thirty-minutes.  It was a disastrous end to a marathon match in which the Indonesian pair obtained two match points in the second game but were not able to convert them and instead let Reika Kakiiwa and Miyuki Maeda come back into the game despite their inevitable great fatigue.

A few minutes later, it was Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan’s turn to be forced to wave the white flag as Mohammad Ahsan was completely unable to properly play his game, still heavily stricken by a back injury. That withdrawal will surely benefit the world number ones Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong, who thus lose their main rivals from the group stage.

Click here for complete Wednesday results

About Tarek Hafi