CANADA OPEN 2011 Day 3 – Stefan misses quarter-final berth

Canada’s last man standing, Stefan Wojcikiewicz had to sit after the last 16, unable to follow up a brilliant come-from-behind win over Dieter Domke with another over Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon. […]

Canada’s last man standing, Stefan Wojcikiewicz had to sit after the last 16, unable to follow up a brilliant come-from-behind win over Dieter Domke with another over Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon.

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

Just minutes after his compatriot Dan Kai dropped a close one to Howard Shu of the U.S., Stefan Wojcikiewicz (pictured) became the lone Canadian man to book a spot in the singles final 16 with a hard-fought 12-21, 21-17, 21-18 victory over Germany’s Dieter Domke, last year’s surprise semi-finalist.

“This is the first time that Dieter and I we’d played each other,” explained Stefan Wojcikiewicz after the match, “but one thing I knew going in is that we’re too big guys and we both want to be attacking and that’s where we feel more comfortable: when we have the shuttle coming up to us all the time.

“And I knew, especially in this hall where it’s hard to see and one side is faster than the other, that it’s just a battle of who’s picking the nets.  And the tactic is was getting your opponent to lift.

“And I lost the first game and in the second game I came over to the slow side and I just decided to stick to my tactic and to try to take the net away from him and eventually he would start losing confidence or control and he was on the fast side so he started lifting shuttles out.  I started being the one who was attacking more when he couldn’t see and I started chipping away.

“I thought yeah, he’s winning some incredible rallies with these great stick smashes and I have to accept those,’ but if I just kept chipping away, I could get something out of it.

“Most importantly for me today, winning this match is a result toward my Olympic qualifying but I definitely did remember Domke doing very well here last year so I knew that he must be feeling comfortable here.  That’s really important because some players just feel more that way here than other players.

“I think Domke had that, at least last year, and to be honest, I didn’t have it, even yesterday in my match so I thought if he’s really feeling comfortable on both sides and I’m struggling on both, then it’s going to be a tough day and today started out that day but I was either going to go down in flames or win with my tactic and I stuck with it and won.”

The victory earned him a shot at Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon (pictured), the 8th seed and contender for the Pan Am title as well as the continental Olympic berth next year.

“I’ve played Kevin Cordon three times.  I beat him once when he was very young and then he beat me once.  Even though my record is not ahead of Kevin, our matches have always been close and I go in thinking I can win and I should win.”

Despite the Canadian’s confidence, however, he was unable to duplicate his performance against Cordon, though it followed much the same pattern as his earlier match, where he dropped a game but picked one up from the slow side.  Despite a 12-9 lead in the decider, he couldn’t hold on and missed out on the final 8.

Shortly after Domke’s morning loss came an even bigger upset of a top permformer from last year as 2010 runner-up Brice Leverdez fell in three to unknown Japanese Kazumasa Sakai (pictured).

The overwhelming favourite for the title, defending champion Taufik Hidayat, won easily and will play the penultimate match of the day against one of his most dangerous challengers in Tian Houwei, the 2009 Asian Junior Champion and recent Russia Open runner-up.

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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 @