SINGAPORE OPEN 2015 Day 3 – Twisted fate for top singles shuttlers

In an interesting twist of events, fortune seemed to be turning its back on many of the seeded players in the tournament. Those that managed to stay in the competition […]

In an interesting twist of events, fortune seemed to be turning its back on many of the seeded players in the tournament. Those that managed to stay in the competition had their skills tested and stretched to the limit by their lower-ranked opponents.

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

Men’s singles have been completely stripped of its seeded shuttlers. Starting from Chen Long, the tournament favourite and reigning World Champion lost to Hu Yun (photo) in the second round, 21-12, 17-21, 18-21. The world #13’s consecutive victory over Chen meant that he has finally secured his first quarter-final spot in international tournaments since November last year.

Jan O Jorgensen has failed to avenge his India Open loss to his unseeded opponent H. S. Prannoy (photo). It was a shockingly quick finish for the Indian, who beat the second seeded Dane 21-16, 21-8 in just 33 minutes.

The good day for Indian squad stretched to their other unseeded player Parupalli Kashyap. He successfully eliminated another tournament favourite, fourth-seeded Korean Son Wan Ho, 21-15, 22-20.

Ironically, India’s very own seeded player, Srikanth Kidambi, failed to reach the quarter-finals. Srikanth lost to Thai’s rising star Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (photo) 21-15, 22-20.

“I am very happy with the win and my performance in the tournament so far,” marvelled Tanongsak after his win.

In the second game, he was constantly trailing behind the Indian, who seemed to have gained some momentum. It was not until the game point that Tanongsak turned the table around and snatched the game and the quarter-final spot from Srikanth.

“I just focused on controlling the game throughout. Towards the end, I think Srikanth didn’t have enough stamina and his power went down. For me, I just mentally kept telling myself to keep going and that I could win this.”

Waiting for Tanongsak at the other side of the court is none other than the defending champion Simon Santoso. Simon, who had had to fight through the qualifying round to even enter the main draw, continued his winning streak today by beating fifth-seeded Viktor Axelsen, 21-17, 16-21, 21-12.

“In the first game, I tried to play safer shots. I lost the second game because I was trying out a few different shots but they went wide and long because of the wind. I was also getting rather impatient because of this. This is why in the third game, I tried to learn from my mistakes and controlled the game again right from the start. That worked and I managed to win the match,” said Simon.

With all the men’s singles top seeds gone from the tournament, the door is open wide for the underdogs to claim the title.

When asked whether his confidence to retain the title has increased upon the outcome of the matches today, the humble Indonesian replied, “I’m not even thinking about that at the moment. I’m just focusing on my quarter-final match against Tanongsak tomorrow to play even better than today while at the same time enjoying the game.”

Japanese ladies marched on

Akane Yamaguchi opened the floodgate of Japanese victories today by beating eighth-seeded Korean Bae Yeon Ju, 21-18, 21-17.

Akane was later joined by the other Japanese youngster Nozomi Okuhara (photo) who played a very impressive match against third seed Sung Ji Hyun and claimed her ticket to the quarter-final.  Unlike the younger Yamaguchi, Okuhara is still looking for her first title and this week is her last chance to win one while still a teenager.

“I have never won against Sung Ji Hyun before so I’m really happy to be able to win today,” said the beaming Okuhara after her match.

“Previously I couldn’t return her attacks, but today I was able to return all of them. I also used to lose to her at crucial points in a game, so when I manged to win the first game 23-21, I felt so happy,” she continued excitedly.

“In the second game, I didn’t change my tactics at all. But I think my opponent was getting more and more tired so her movement became much slower.”

Both Japanese womens’ doubles also advanced to the quarter-finals. First seeds Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi will face Xia Huan / Tian Qing from China. Meanwhile, Reika Kakiiwa / Miyuki Maeda (photo), who survived a near defeat to Thai pair Puttita Supajirakul / Sapsiree Taerattanachai, will face Eefje Muskens / Selena Piek of the Netherlands, who joined Okuhara and Kento Momota this week as first-time inductees to the world’s top 10.

Triple joy for Indonesian men’s doubles

Indonesia dominates the men’s doubles quarter-finals draw, claiming three out of the eight spots.

Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan (photo) experienced another three-game match in the second round. Their opponents, Korean scratch pairing Ko Sung Hyun / Choi Sol Kyu, certainly did not make it easy for them. After a gripping, 54-minute battle, the Indonesians were able to win the match, 19-21, 21-18, 21-17.

Ahsan/Setiawan will face their compatriots Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pankaryanira / Ade Yusuf, who upset fourth seeds Chai Biao / Hong Wei, 19-21, 22-20, 22-20.

Angga Pratama / Ricky Karanda Suwardi came out strong in their intense match against Danish duo Kim Astrup / Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, 21-17, 18-21, 21-19. They will face none other than the top seeds Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong who have so far displayed tip top condition in the tournament.

“I think it will be a very tight match tomorrow against the Koreans. We met them in Hong Kong and had a really close match against them as well, so we are hoping that we could fight it out even more tomorrow,” said Angga.

Little surprise in mixed doubles

The only upset in mixed doubles were experienced by eight seed German pair Michael Fuchs / Birgit Michels. They were beaten by Indonesian pair Irfan Fadhilah / Weni Anggraini, 15-21, 21-18, 21-18.

“Reaching the quarter-finals for us has exceeded our target. Now that we are here, we will just play our best and who knows we can create some surprises,” said Irfan.

For complete Day 3 results click here

About Serla Rusli