China may be intent on a sweep at the 2011 Li Ning China Open, but Day 1 of the year’s final Premier Super Series event saw plenty of jostling for position among the second tier.
By Kevin Kung, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)
This year’s China Open seems to have fewer Chinese flag-bearing athletes than usual, probably because many foreign players are coming to get some ranking points for Olympic qualifying. However, it is still too early to say whether we will see all five finals with Chinese players or another clean sweep of titles for the host nation.
Up-and-coming Hong Kong player Wong Wing Ki beat Ajay Jayaram in the first round and will face Lin Dan for the third time in two months. “Super Dan” crushed the young player a week before and he should not let the Hong Konger made another upset tomorrow.
Wong’s compatriot Yip Pui Yin enjoyed her own upset against Juliane Schenk. The German lady lost the 1 hour and 6 minute match with the score 18-21, 21-19, 23-25
On the other hand, Petya Nedelcheva upset 5th seed Jiang Yanjiao on her rival’s home soil in three games 15-21, 21-19, 21-15. The Bulgarian seemed to have a method to play against players with home crowd support. Last week she also beat Yip Pui-yin in Hong Kong Open.
South Korea’s Bae Youn Joo (pictured above) stunned fourth seed India’s Saina Nehwal 15-21, 24-22, 21-15. It has been 5 years and two weeks since Saina scored her first of 5 wins over Bae, in the Korean’s first international tournament. Not only did Bae break the Indian’s streak, but she can actually qualify the Super Series Finals if she can win her second round match against Fu Mingtian or Sayaka Sato tomorrow.
Good news for Danish fans. Peter Gade, Jan O Jorgensen and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (pictured right) passed their first test today and got 3 seats for Denmark in the last 16. HK will face second seeded Chinese Chen Long while PG will play against another Chinese, Du Pengyu. Jorgensen will play seventh seeded Nguyen Tien Minh.
Taufik Hidayat survived from a three-game thriller to beat Chinese Lu Yi 21-17, 18-21, 22-20.
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