CHINA MASTERS 2011 R32 – Tai Fantastic!

China’s Wang Shixian advanced into the second round after defeating Chinese Taipei’s young but dangerous figure Tai Tzu Ying with a victory that could hardly have been narrower. Meanwhile, recent […]

China’s Wang Shixian advanced into the second round after defeating Chinese Taipei’s young but dangerous figure Tai Tzu Ying with a victory that could hardly have been narrower. Meanwhile, recent World Championship bronze medallists Jwala Gutta / Ashwini Ponnappa found the 2009 World Junior Champions Xia Huan / Tang Jinhua of China too hot to handle as the Indians bowed out in three games.

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

Wang Shixian survived a thrilling first round match against Taipei’s talented Tai Tzu Ying (pictured left) after three games of 21-13, 19-21, 30-29. While the Chinese had ousted her opponent in two quick games back in January in their first meeting early this year at the Malaysia Open, the now 17-year-old Tai came back a different person after her fate-change in early summer.

This afternoon in Changzhou, Tai was merely inches from toppling the Chinese boat when she had favour of three match points in the deciding game. Unfortunately, as her opponent took three straight points to meet her at 20-all, the two sank into a deucing swirl that eventually saw Wang Shixian (pictured right) scraping through the young Taiwanese, ending the game in a stunning 30-29 in the Chinese star’s favour.

In the men’s doubles, Indonesia’s world #8 Alvent Yulianto Chandra / Hendra Aprida Gunawan set out on yet another journey to break the pair’s long-time runner-up curse by trying to earn their first title on the international circuit. However, Hirokatsu Hashimoto / Noriyasu Hirata of Japan, from whom the Indonesians have never failed to devour victories in all three meetings, managed their first victory and crashed the Indonesians’ hopes ruthlessly in straight games of 22-20, 21-13, right in the first round at the Xincheng Gymnasium.

Later in the day, Wang Yihan shut the doors for the newly crowned Chinese Taipei Open champion Sung Ji Hyun and proceeded into the next round, where she had hoped to meet her compatriot Li Xuerui. Singapore’s Gu Juan, however, destroyed the intra-Chinese match expected by local spectators, by rising ahead of Li after a tough battle of 11-21, 22-20, 21-18.

World junior champions shine

It was Xia Huan / Tang Jinhua’s victory over India’s Jwala Gutta / Ashwini Ponnappa in the women’s doubles that made the day for the locals at the stadium. Xia/Tang were World Junior Champions in 2009 and had crowned the India Grand Prix in 2010, in the home of their opponents today, where the Indians, recent World Championship bronze medallists, were absent.  Gutta/Ponnappa handed the game over in 19-21, 21-15, 23-21, despite having saved three match points in the rubber game.

In the men’s singles, Wang Zhengming, also World Junior Champion, in 2008, swept off Japan’s Kenichi Tago in straight games of 21-14, 21-14. The Chinese will play against Du Pengyu – who defeated Malaysia’s Liew Daren in quick games of 21-11, 21-14 – for a place in the quarter-finals.

On the other hand, Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen, glad to be back on the circuit after recovering from a hamstring injury, had an unfortunate comeback show in the gymnasium today. The spoiler of Jorgensen’s aspirations was none other than Chinese Taipei’s Hsueh Hsuan Yi (pictured), who won the match 21-11, 23-21.

Fortunate enough, Peter Gade then made up for the defeat of his compatriot by sending out China’s Chen Yuekun, who in their first game got the better of the Dane by 21-17. Gade’s experience and determination then allowed him to easily turn the tables and end the match in his favour with 21-12 and 21-7 in the next two games.

Three seeds uprooted in mixed doubles

The mixed doubles matches of the day saw three seeded pairs exiting the tournament in the early round.

Korea’s Kim Ki Jung / Jung Kyung Eun (pictured) were among the few Koreans who were denied the taste of personal victories at the Chinese Taipei Open last week, but ousting England’s top pair, 6th seeded Nathan Robertson / Jenny Wallwork, in the first round of the Super Series was more than just fine to make up for their bland run in Taipei. They joyfully took the match in 21-17, 21-17 in a little more than half an hour.   They go on to face another British pair, Robert Blair / Gabrielle White, who had earlier disposed of the Koreans’ respective doubles partners in two close games.

Another European upset came when Poland’s 7th seeded Robert Mateusiak / Nadiezda Zieba ended their run early after failing to stop Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying from having their share of good news. The Malaysians upset their opponents in 21-19, 7-21, 21-17 and earned a chance to play Korea’s Yoo Yeong Seong / Jang Ye Na for a quarter-final spot.

The third on the mixed doubles list to be eliminated was the second seed, China’s Tao Jiaming / Tian Qing. The defending champions lost to India’s Diju Valiyaveetil / Jwala Gutta after three stirring games of 21-5, 14-21, 18-21, allowing Gutta to comfort herself from the upset in her women’s doubles match, as she gets ready to meet Lee Yong Dae / Ha Jung Eun – who defeated He Hanbin / Bao Yixin of China in straight games – on Thursday afternoon.

Click here for complete results

About Ee-Lyn Ooi