The host country managed to clinch a spotlight in the quarter-finals of Singapore Open Superseries, thanks to their unstoppable mixed doubles duo Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Vanessa Neo, who defeated Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thungthongkam in the second round.
By Serla Rusli, Badzine Correspondent live from Singapore Indoor Stadium. Photos (live) Badmintonphoto
Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Vanessa Neo (pictured left) were clearly the better players on court today as they outpaced Sudket and Saralee in their attacks and net play, which ended up producing an upset of the 5th-seeded Thai veteran pair, 21-12, 21-18.
“They are playing a lot faster today while we were playing poorly. I felt we only played 50% of our game in today’s match,” reflected Sudket.
This is the first time the Thai pair had been defeated by Chrisnanta and Neo, whom they had always conquered in the previous 4 encounters in Thailand, Germany and India.
“Our strategy was just to be confident and focused on the game. We have studied their match yesterday and based on that, our coach laid out the tactics for us,” said the Indonesian-born Danny.
“We just tried to be faster than them throughout the game. Since I’m better with my net play, I focused on playing at the front faster while Danny, who is much stronger with his attacks, focused on attacking,” said the beaming Vanessa.
This win was a welcome bit of news for Singapore as their two other hopes had crashed earlier in the day. Derek Wong (pictured right) was unable to continue his journey in the tournament as he surrendered the quarter-final spot to Sai Praneeth B from India, 24-22, 21-19. Shinta Mulia Sari and Yao Lei failed to keep their winning streak against Korea, as this time they conceded to Korean duo Ko A Ra / Yoo Hae Won, who won 21-9, 21-11 and advanced to take on another pair – Luo Ying and Luo Yu – who advanced past a favoured Korean duo.
Sudket/Saralee’s defeat was not the only major upset in the doubles events for the day. In men’s doubles discipline, second seeds Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa lost to Chai Biao / Hong Wei (pictured left) from China. After an hour of attacks and series of smashes from both sides, there was no way of telling who would come out victorious. The Japanese led halfway through the final game, but Chai/Hong crawled back to catch up and eventually took the lead.
The game ended in favour of the Chinese when at 20-19, Endo served into the net. With the anti-climactic ending, Chai/Hong booked their spot in the quarter-finals, 21-14, 10-21, 21-19.
“We think we played well today. The fact that we beat them in our past two encounters certainly gave us the confidence we needed for the match,” commented Chai Biao.
It was China denying Japan both possible quarter-final spots in the men’s doubles as Endo/Hayakawa’s exit came after their compatriots Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda were also ousted by another Chinese pair, Cai Yun/Lu Kai in straight games 23-21, 21-19.
More upsets in the men’s doubles event also came when third seeds Angga Pratama / Ryan Agung Saputra were stopped by their Indonesian compatriots Berry Angriawan / Ricky Karana Suwardi with the score 19-21, 21-14, 21-13. The same fate also befell Malaysian duo Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying, who were defeated by Liu Cheng / Bao Yixin from China also in a thrilling three games, that ended 21-17, 12-21, 21-12.
Singles as expected
Unlike the doubles events, the seeded singles shuttlers’ day was smooth sailing, save for Nguyen Tien Minh. He bowed down to Srikanth K (pictured right) from India, 18-21, 21-15, 21-8. The seventh seeded Vietnamese failed to repeat his stellar performance of last year, when he reached the semi-finals of the Singapore Open Superseries, where this year could very well have meant a face-off with world no 1 Lee Chong Wei himself.
Lee Chong Wei booked his quarter-final spot after what seemed to be an easy round for him. He ousted Chinese youngster Chen Yuekun 21-11, 21-6 and in the next round will face Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk from Thailand, to whom he has never lost in their past 8 encounters.
In the women’s singles event, Li Xuerui survived a scare by Japanese shuttler Minatsu Mitani (pictured left), 17-21, 21-19, 21-12 and is set to face Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying next.
The women’s singles quarter-finals also will host a repeat of the 2013 World Championships match between Wang Yihan and the formidable P.V. Sindhu. Back in August, Sindhu was able to break through the Great Wall of China by beating not only Wang Yihan, but also Wang Shixian in the World Championships.
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