SINGAPORE OPEN 2015 Day 2 – A good day for top seeds

Day 2 of Singapore Open 2015 gave us a glimpse of what to expect for the rest of the tournament. With all events except for mixed doubles kicking off the […]

Day 2 of 2015 gave us a glimpse of what to expect for the rest of the tournament. With all events except for mixed doubles kicking off the first round of the main draws, most shuttlers were only starting to be acquainted with the court conditions, which could sometimes make this round somewhat unpredictable. The survivors were those who managed to adapt well to the tricky conditions.

By Serla Rusli and Seria Rusli, Badzine Correspondents live from Singapore Indoor Stadium.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The good news is all but two of all of the tournament’s seeds made it through to the second round.  The sole exception on Wednesday was the eight-seeded Russian men’s doubles pair Vladimir Ivanov / Ivan Sozonov, who lost to their unseeded Danish opponents Kim Astrup / Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, 23-25, 21-15, 22-20.  They joined the 7th-seeded mixed pair who lost in those early first round matches on Tuesday evening.

Reigning men’s doubles world champion Ko Sung Hyun (pictured right, with Choi Sol Kyu) tasted victory twice today. He managed to book the spot in the mixed doubles second round with Kim Ha Na after they ousted Kona Tarun / N. Sikky Reddy from India, 21-15, 21-17.

Ko then came out strong again later in the day, this time with his new men’s doubles partner Choi Sol Kyu. They survived a scare from Singapore duo Terry Hee / Hendra Wijaya in an intense three-game match, 13-21, 21-16, 21-14.

Despite winning the first and controlling the first half of the second game, the homeground favourites Hee / Wijaya failed to close the game in their favour and had to cede their second round spot to the Koreans.

“We felt that we slowed down a bit in the second game and lost some momentum. By the third game, our opponents gained a lot of confidence and we still couldn’t gain back our game,” explained Hee.

“Since this is our first major tournament together, we didn’t expect to win. For us, this was a pretty good result.”

A single hope for Singapore

The defeat for the Singaporeans came shortly after their women’s doubles pair Vanessa Neo / Shinta Mulia Sari crashed under Japanese power duo Reika Kakiiwa / Miyuki Maeda. The second seeds’ aggressive attacks proved to be too much for Neo / Sari and they conceded after 36 minutes, 21-9, 21-12.

This leaves Chen Jiayuan to be the sole flag bearer for Singapore in the second round of Singapore Open. She will face the current Finals Champion Tai Tzu Ying from Chinese Taipei to fight for a spot in the Quarter Finals.

Wang Shixian (photo), who became the tournament favourite after first seed Saina Nehwal pulled out of the tournament, looked quite sharp against Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour, winning the match in 38 minutes, 21-16, 21-10. Wang will face Pai Yu Po from Chinese Taipei, who fought hard for her second round spot against Indonesia’s Ruselli Hartawan in three games, 21-18, 10-21, 21-10.

Facing past defeats

World #1 Chen Long breezed through his first match in Singapore against Korean Lee Dong Keun (pictured below), 21-10, 21-13.

“I felt that my opponent wasn’t as good at adapting to the match,” said Chen afterward.  “I still needed to adjust a lot to the court as well since I made some unforced errors in the first game.”

The World Champion is certainly looking to continue his winning streak since December last year in Dubai should he survive his opponent in the second round. He is set to face Hu Yun from Hong Kong, who beat Kenichi Tago in a quick 21-15, 21-5 finish.

“The last time I met Hu Yun was in the Japan Open last year. It was a very close match and I lost to him. I will prepare and rest well for tomorrow. I try not to give myself too much pressure, and I will just focus on preparing and performing well for all my matches.”

Chen Long’s toughest opponent in this tournament on paper, Jan O, also cruised through to the second round after beating B. Sai. Praneeth from India, 21-11, 21-18.

“It is always tough to play the first game because the conditions here are quite tricky. So I’m really happy that I won,” said Jan. He will face another Indian shuttler H.S. Prannoy to whom he lost in the second round of the India Open two weeks back.

“I have lost to Prannoy twice previously so it is going to be a tight match tomorrow. I expect a tough fight, and I’m going to play my best tomorrow.”

This is the Dane’s first appearance in Singapore since 2011 and he is thrilled to be back: “The last time I was here, I was still a junior player. It is really great to be back here again. Singapore is a great place with great stadium facilities.”

For Jan’s compatriot H.K. Vittinghus (pictured), his win today against Takuma Ueda was an achievement on its own. Not only did it mean that he got through to the second round of the tournament, but it also ended his win drought in Superseries tournaments ever since his stellar performance in Dubai last December. Vittinghus is going to face Brice Leverdez from France for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Click here for complete Day 2 results

About Serla Rusli