Li Xuerui, Chen Long, Wang Yihan and the pair of Cai Yun, Fu Haifeng have retired from the Korea Open Super Series, while Chen Jin was beaten by a younger compatriot. This leaves the event orphan of some of the best players in the world and once again raises questions.
Raphael Sachetat. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)
Is it a coincidence? Or a simple way for Chinese officials of telling the BWF that the tournament schedule is taking its toll on the players and that they should not be forced to participate in events they are not ready for? No one will ever know, but the sudden withdraw very early in the match of 3 singles and the top pair from China as well as the reigning Olympic Champions Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng certainly raises questions again on the intention of the Chinese team.
It started out with Li Xuerui. At 7-7 after 8 minutes of play against Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk, the Olympic Champion went to shake the Umpire’s hand, calling it off. Then, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng (photo) didn’t wait much longer against Taipei’s pair of Lee and Tsai. They stopped at 4-11. Chen Long waited for the break as well against Ashton Chen from Singapore – this time, he was the one in the lead. Wang Yihan waited until she was in the lead in the second game against Bae Yeon Ju to retire. The official reason –given on BWF’s Facebook page was, for Chen Long and Li Xuerui a knee injury.
However, minutes after the third withdrawal, the badminton community including top players started questioning the truth behind all these withdrawls, either on forums, facebook accounts and elsewhere. A coincidence that these 3 top athletes suffered from injury?
Many fans are starting to blame Chinese officials from playing a bad trick on Korea. Reasons could be that the Chinese squad wants to make a point of not being forced to participate in so many events as the new rule states – fines decided by the BWF are far more expensive than a return ticket and a night in a hotel. This could also be a sponsor fight, as the Chinese National team’s sponsor is a concurrent of the Sponsor of the event in Korea. It is however most likely that the truth behind this will never be known and the event will go on.
There were some upsets elsewhere in the draws. Chen Jin was beaten by his younger compatriot Gao Huan, which leaves the road right open for Lee Chong Wei (photo), who had a difficult first round against Wang Zhengming. He will face European Champion Marc Zwiebler on Thursday. 5th seed Kenichi Tago fell to Jan O Jorgensen for what was one of the highlights of the first round. Ueda avenged his compatriot as he beat another Dane – Vittinghus, in another long battle of 76 minutes and score of 18-21, 21-17, 21-18
Saina Nehwal barely made it to the second round – She won 21-19 in the decider against Thailand’s Sapsiree while Sindhu P.V. will enjoy Li’s withdraw as she was supposed to play the Chinese in the second round. Ratchanok Intanon, seeded 6, was beaten by Taipei’s jewel Tai Tzu Ying.
Bad news for England as the top pair of Ellis/Adcock (photo) was forced to withdraw as well – Andy Ellis slipped and hurt his right knee – he was carried out of the court on a stretcher in obvious pain and sent to the Hospital.
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