AUSTRALIAN OPEN Day 1 – Tse and Tang tango into round two

This year the packed Australian Open cast necessitated starting main draw matches on a Tuesday instead of Wednesday, with mixed doubles being “television dinner”. By Aaron Wong.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives) […]

This year the packed cast necessitated starting main draw matches on a Tuesday instead of Wednesday, with mixed doubles being “television dinner”.

By Aaron Wong.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

How much of an upset?

Hong Kong’s Tse Ying Suet / Tang Chun Man (pictured) caused the upset of the day by downing defending champions Chae Yoo Jung / Seo Seung Jae of Korea.

Is it really an upset? It’s complicated. Tse/Tang are ranked #9 in the world and have been as high as #2 because they’ve won a Superseries Premier.

Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yoo Jung have ascended to world #8 but Seo was ranked world #5 last year with Kim Ha Na until she retired. Seo with Chae have won three Super 300s and come runner-up at a Super 750.

Based on tournament results alone, of course it’s an upset to lose during the opening round and there was always going to be one top 10 pair sent packing in this scenario. More tellingly, it’s Tse/Tang’s first victory over Chae/Seo in their three encounters.

Add more Tang

This year the packed Australian Open cast necessitated starting main draw matches on a Tuesday instead of Wednesday,

In the preview, Tang was touted as the deciding factor and he was. But that was written out of worry he’d lapse into inconsistency when the pressure built.

Instead, today, he produced the pressure. Tang Chun Man danced circles around his opponents and also left the other three players looking relatively ordinary. His elevation on jump smashes was noteworthy and Chae had enormous trouble throughout dealing with its steepness.

Left handed cross court angles are difficult for right handers. Judge how excellent Tang’s was today that Chae also fell prey to his fantastic drop-shots when she wasn’t out of position.

Repeatedly, Tang started from the rear court, made his way to the mid-court and finished off the point all on his own which is rare that frequently when two established top 10s meet unless your name is Zheng Siwei.

Seo Seung Jae could only watch as his side succumbed to Tang, while his own smashes were regularly too flat and expectant to seldom scare Tse. Hong Kong trounced the fifth seeded Koreans, 21-16, 21-16.

Flying the maple leaf

World #51 Canadians Josephine Wu / Joshua Hurlburt-Yu (pictured above) were also impressive in taking the first game off world #54 Chinese opponents Zhou Chaomin / Ren Xiangyu.

Wu was purveyor of very wide and excellent cross court backhand defence care of the natural twist in her wrist. Hurlburt-Yu played with a fire in his belly but what was awe-inspiring was how well suited as partners they are, partly evidenced by never ceasing to play at their optimum.

This year the packed Australian Open cast necessitated starting main draw matches on a Tuesday instead of Wednesday,

Zhou/Ren were able to stay clinically focused for longer, probably born from training with teammates of a higher level regularly compared to the Canadians, which helped them to triumph 18-21, 21-13, 21-14.

He said it

In the mixed zone, Chris Adcock summed up this tournament by stating he’s never seen a this tough.

The seventh seeded Adcocks were on course to wrap things up in straight games but former world #2 Lu Kai with current partner Chen Lu (pictured) dragged it out. Chen Lu made her presence felt more but at the same time remained the target of choice for her opponents.

The Brits’ superior game plan nevertheless delivered a 21-17, 21-23, 21-19 victory despite a slightly anxious dash to the finish line which used up three of their four match points.

Click here for complete Tuesday results

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @ badzine.net