SUDIRMAN CUP 2011 Day 1 – Schenk shakes Chinese boat

As has been proven on several occasions, day one of a team event in badminton is by no means child’s play. In the elite group’s afternoon session today, China and […]

As has been proven on several occasions, day one of a team event in badminton is by no means child’s play. In the elite group’s afternoon session today, China and Indonesia, seemingly mighty before their European opponents Germany and Russia respectively, felt slight tremors as their hopes of sweet 5-0 victories were shattered. China especially quaked, as German’s Juliane Schenk managed to add Wang Shixian to the list of top Chinese she has personally defeated.

By Ooi Ee Lyn, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live).

China, defending champions and host of the event twice in a row were the first to raise the curtains of the eight day championship. The advantage of this nation is that they are home to most top players in the world and any line-up would still be unarguably strong, short of a total makeover with, say, a doubles specialist standing solitarily on court in hope of defending the nation’s pride.

That, it is well known – doesn’t really tally with their style of giving the best shot under all circumstances. At least on court today was one of their strongest lineups with two recently crowned All England champions playing repeats of their late round matches in Birmingham last March.  One of these, however, was seen outplayed by a vengeful German.

As China secured their victory over Germany with All England champion Xu Chen / Ma Jin, the nation’s strongest power card Lin Dan (photo)  and captain Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng’s awesome play, all in straight games, Wang Shixian, also recent All England champion, slipped and fell into the hands of Germany’s top women’s singles player Juliane Schenk.

The German beat Wang Shixian 21-19, 21-16, controlling the drift and her nerves much better than the recent Asian Champion, adding her to her list of top Chinese players she’s beaten so far.

I’m very satisfied with my play today,” said a triumphant Schenk (photo). “I was well prepared and I was quite confident. I had lost to her before in the rubber game so I was expecting it to be tough but I had a chance; and the fact that I took the first game brought me extra confidence in the second. She was insecure as it was her first match in this hall. It’s not easy to play in here as there is a lot of drift, but it’s the same for everyone. We just have to adjust to the playing conditions.”

Her victory also adds glory to the large battalion of competing players in the world who are hoping to topple the Chinese’s Great Wall in badminton. She remarked, “I’m glad that I can be part of the ones beating the Chinese. Saina and Tine showed the way and I don’t know if I can be considered as one of them, but it sure feels nice and I hope that many more other players will be able to beat the top Chinese.”

China’s Asian Championship runner-up Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei then went on to wrap up the tie for China by beating Birgit Michels / Sandra Marinello in straight games, in a replay of their first meeting, in this year’s Malaysia Open, with an equivalent outcome.

On the adjacent court, where the tie between Indonesia and Russia was on display, the former team shared same luck as their fellow Asian China, but the magnitude hit them much sooner than expected.

Indonesia’s world #11 mixed doubles pair of Fran Kurniawan / Pia Zebadiah Bernadet was amazingly upset by Russia’s second best pair, Vitalij Durkin / Nina Vislova (photo) who are currently standing 37 world ranking notches behind them.

Fortunate enough, the weakened Indonesian team finally survived the tie with a 4-1 victory consisting only of straight-game successes, and a rout also as spontaneous.

Russia will now have to reshuffle their field in order to put up a more threatening tie tomorrow against Malaysia, who are also slightly weakened by the sudden retirement of their legendary women’s singles ace Wong Mew Choo.

The other matches of the session saw South Africa edge out Bulgaria, who were playing without their top ladies, Nedelcheva, Dimova and Zetchiri. Kerry Lee Harrington (photo) won over Dimitria Popstoykova in three long games for a final 4-1 victory for her country in the Division 3 of the competition. Two ties saw the Philippines win over Israel 5-0 and Sri Lanka edging out Seychelle Islands 5-0 in Division 4.

Results HERE

About Ee-Lyn Ooi