CANADA OPEN 2011 Day 2 – Ng brothers lead local charge

The first day of main round action at the 2011 Yonex Canada Open passed without a single seed upset.  Most of the tension was in the mixed doubles, where two […]

The first day of main round action at the 2011 Yonex passed without a single seed upset.  Most of the tension was in the mixed doubles, where two seeded pairs were pushed before emerging unscathed and local players earned their expected second round passes.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Richmond.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

In terms of pure results, Day 2 at the 2011 Yonex Canada Open in Richmond, B.C. was rather predictable.  All the favourites made it through, many of them breezing to effortless wins.  The only two seeded ‘losses’ on the day were forfeits due to injury by Nicole Grether of Canada and Kim Min Jung of Korea.

Hosts Canada had a lot of entries filling up the draws and many of these were simply outclassed by the A-level talent that had descended on Canada’s west coast in search of Olympic qualifying points.  In the 64-man singles draw 11th-seeded Stefan Wojcikiewicz joined by Kai Dan in advancing to Round 2.  Michelle Li (pictured bottom) was the lone local women’s singles shuttler to advance while Stephanie Ko / Melody Liang held the same distinction in women’s doubles.

Mixed doubles national champions Toby Ng / Grace Gao enjoyed their expected first round victory but Toby’s brother Derrick Ng, and partner Phyllis Chan (pictured top) – also Vancouver area natives – had a seemingly tougher task, going up against China’s Li Gen, son of Chinese National Team Head Coach Li Yongbo.

Uncharacteristically for a Chinese national team player and for a player of his age and experience, Li Gen (pictured right with partner Luo Yu) seemed determined to demonstrate his racquet control with a lot of risky, fancy shots.  Unfortunately for him, he was more than matched in both power and consistency by his Canadian counterpart, and Ng and Chan took it home 21-12, 21-17 in just 20 minutes.

“For me, I just have to keep it simple,” said Derrick.  “It is just a first round match in just another tournament and as long as I keep that mentality, then I won’t get too nervous playing.  I try not to put too much pressure on myself by concentrating on the fact that my opponents are the Chinese or to get too overconfident, thinking ‘Oh, we beat a Chinese pair.’

“I only tried the fancy stuff when I had a comfortable lead but if you look at my style and Li Gen’s style, we can both be pretty wild players.  I knew that even before we played because I had seen him play at the U.S. Open so I just had to remind myself that as long as I can stay composed, he will hit that wild one out the back, which he did quite a few times…Of course, I too am known for taking a lot of chances.

“At first, I was comfortable,” the Vancouver-based Ng said of playing on essentially his home ground, “and then I got really nervous because I have all these people who haven’t really seen me play because I’m always travelling and they only really see my results online and now they really get to see me play live and I’d better not disappoint them.

“After talking to my friend who told me that I have the home crowd cheering for me so I should use it.  If you play well and put on a show, the crowd will get behind you and that’s a huge variable that could even help you win.  So now I’m pretty comfortable with playing for the home crowd and I try to put on the best show I can.”

Unfortunately for the Canadians, both pairs will be facing strong Chinese Taipei pairs.  Derrick and Phyllis go up against defending champions Lee Sheng Mu / Chien Yu Chin (pictured above) while Toby and Grace take on Lin Yu Lang / Hsieh Pei Chen.

Meanwhile, the picks for second round matchups have to be Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na of Korea playing Germany’s Michael Fuchs / Birgit Michels as well as Singapore twosome Chayut Triyachart / Yao Lei taking on Qiu Zihan / Bao Yixin of China.

The women’s events promise to have the other contests of interest as Japan’s youngsters look threatening in the singles and the doubles will see top seeds and defending champions Cheng/Chien attempt to exact some payback from Korea’s Jung/Kim.

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @