WORLDS 2017 Day 3 – Brice still battling

The French hero of Day 2 Brice Leverdez was again made to work hard as Croatian Durkinjak pushed the tired Frenchman to his limit as he battled from behind in […]

The French hero of Day 2 was again made to work hard as Croatian Durkinjak pushed the tired Frenchman to his limit as he battled from behind in Glasgow. Wong Wing Ki also held out to beat another strong challenge from Japan’s Tsuneyama.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from Glasgow. Photos: Badmintonphoto.

Wong Wing Ki (pictured left) avenged his defeat in his only previous fixture with Kanta Tsuneyama, but once again had to save three match points in a very close contest.

“I didn’t get nervous, it was a tough match. I lost to him a few months ago at the Asian Championships so I knew it would be hard,” said Wong after the match.  “I’m a seed so the pressure was on my side. I tried to keep focus and don’t think about the result, just think about how to do better each point.

“Tomorrow Shi Yuqi will be a tough match. I have to make sure I get enough rest as it will be much more difficult.”

His next round opponent didn’t have it all clear sailing, however, as Brazilian Ygor Coelho forced a deciding rubber against Shi Yuqi.

“Since the Olympics I’ve been training really hard, I’m totally happy with my match level. I’m getting a lot of confidence out of matches like this.  It shows I am competing against the best,” said Coelho.

Shi Yuqi’s Chinese teammates had an easier time of it as Chen Long (pictured right) continued his untroubled progress, easing past Sony Dwi Kuncoro in straight games. After the match, Chen spoke of his preparation for this showdown: “I played better than yesterday. [Kuncoro] is a strong opponent, he’s won World Championship and Olympic medals before so I had to make sure I was playing well.”

When asked about the draw opening after Lee Chong Wei’s shock exit, he only had kind words for his long-time rival: “I always look forward to playing [Lee], and I hope he can come back and play again. But it’s a race and every game is crucial and anything can happen. I still can only focus on one game at a time.”

Tian Houwei will also join his compatriots as one of the four Chinese men’s singles players going through.  Tian beat Russian Malkov in straight games.  The Chinese player will have the edge tomorrow as opponent Brice Leverdez (pictured left) went the distance again, the day after his heroics against Lee Chong Wei.

The Frenchman spoke of how playing Croatian Zvonimir Durkinjak was a completely different proposition to the challenge of the day before.

“It’s a different game, a different player. He gave me no opportunity to play my game, tried to break my rhythm and was very defensive. It’s how you deal with his good shots, sometimes you just have to say good shot and move to the next point. If you get mad, you have no chance.”

Leverdez will be rightfully tired, but he doesn’t see this as an excuse: “Everyone is tough, Tian Houwei is a really solid guy, and there will be some good rallies I’m sure. I will just play my game and hopefully I will win.”

Another player who didn’t have the easiest time yesterday, Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, made lighter work of Zulfadli Zulkiffli, requiring only two games and 50 minutes to overcome his Malaysian opponent.

Commenting on his knee injury, the Thai replied, “It hurts but it hasn’t got worse so I’m being careful, icing it and taking precautions.”

Saensomboonsuk is not fazed by his next opponent, first seed Son Wan Ho who had no issue beating Hungarian Krausz.  Despite a head to head of 3-1 in favour of the Korean, the Thai said, “I’m confident for tomorrow.  On my day, I’m stronger than him.”

The Scottish crowd will also have a home favourite to cheer in the next round as Kirsty Gilmour (pictured left) finally got her Glasgow campaign underway, beating Rituparna Das 21-16, 21-13.

“It was nice to just shake out some of the cobwebs.  It’s been a while since I’ve been here. It’s a pretty good first round, a tough game but had the space to try some things out,” said Gilmour.

She has a tough next round match against He Bingjiao, but this will not stop her trying to please her local crowd: “I’ve fulfilled my seeding but I’d be lying if I said I was satisfied. It’ll be a hard game, and if I play my best and still lose, then so be it. But I will be looking to do my best. I have beaten her in the only previous match we’ve played, in January 2016.”

The full results for the day can be found here.

About Michael Burke