SS FINALS 2015 Day 1 – Nothing but upsets in mixed

The defeat of 3-time World Champions Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei was to set the pattern for opening day at the Superseries Finals in Dubai as all four mixed doubles […]

The defeat of 3-time World Champions Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei was to set the pattern for opening day at the in Dubai as all four mixed doubles matches ended in upsets.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Finals rookies Lee Chun Hei and Chau Hoi Wah could not have asked for a better start to their first ever campaign at badminton’s most lucrative season-ending tournament.  Beaten at their home event a few weeks ago, they bounced back to beat the might Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (pictured above) in the very first match of the week at the Hamdan Sports Complex.

The mixed doubles upsets were far from over when only the top seeds had been beaten, however.  In fact, it was the higher-ranked pair that lost in every one of the four opening matches in the preliminary group stage.

It was the following match on the centre court that established another trend for opening day.  In all, over a dozen match points were saved and brought in extra points.  The first such came at the end of the mixed match between Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen and Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (pictured above).

The Koreans had a slight 19-17 lead in the third game but a late surge by the Danes gave them match point at 20-19.  The Koreans were able to weather three storms in succession, however, and they eventually shut down the world #4 pair 24-22 in the decider.

Ko and Kim’s compatriots were not so lucky with the reversals, however.  First, in the first singles match on the main court, Sung Ji Hyun failed to convert any of her four match points in the second game.  Her opponent Ratchanok Intanon took that second game 23-21 and then ran away with the decider to take the match in three.

In men’s doubles, Kim Ki Jung and Kim Sa Rang blew a 19-15 lead in their deciding game against Chai Biao / Hong Wei.  The 2014 runners-up produced a 5-point run that game them match point first but they still had to save one by the Kims before finally winning 24-22.

In yet another mixed doubles upset, Chris and Gabrielle Adcock (pictured above) surged out to a 20-17 lead in their deciding game but then former World Champions Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir saved five match points but never got one of their own before bowing 22-24 to the English pair.  Indonesian fans could celebrate the final mixed doubles upset of the day as Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto won in straight games against World Championship runners-up Liu Cheng / Bao Yixin.

Perhaps the biggest reversal came in the repeat of the women’s doubles World Championship final.  Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl led Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (pictured bottom) 18-12 in the deciding game but the Chinese pair gave chase and put together a 4-point run to finish it 22-20.

One highlight of Day 2 will be another repeat of a World Championship final, this time between women’s singles World Champion Carolina Marin and runner-up Saina Nehwal (pictured), who suffered an upset on Wednesday when she lost in straight games to Nozomi Okuhara.

Click here for complete Wednesday results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @