NEW ZEALAND OPEN 2013 Day 3 – Singles draws lose top seeds

Both singles draws lost their top seeds in the quarter-final round of the Skycity New Zealand Open Grand Prix, after a long Friday that began with the round of 16.  […]

Both singles draws lost their top seeds in the quarter-final round of the Skycity , after a long Friday that began with the round of 16.  China’s Yao Xue (pictured) and Korea’s Lee Dong Keun took responsibility for the upsets.

By Kira Rin, Badzine Correspondent live in Auckland.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

Maybe New Zealand had an effect in players taking their matches a tad slower as a long session of round 16 saw the tournament being pushed to almost an hour behind schedule, with many matches going to a third game, and even had 4 consecutive matches stretching to rubber games. Only the relatively short length of quarter-finals helped bring the tournament back to schedule.

The Southern Cross smiles on those who dare take the chance against the top

Second seeds Goh V Shem and Lim Khim Wah fell to the tall pairs of Li Junjui and Liu Yuchen. Their long reach helped them endure the Malaysian’s fast and brutal attacks, and in turn force attacking opportunities from them.

Another seeded Malaysian pair, 3rd seeds Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari fell to Indonesians Bona Septano and Afiat Yuris Wirawan (pictured). Even with Bona diving on the court many times to reach for almost impossible shots, Zakry and Fairuzizuan still could not find it in them to finish the points effectively and ceded the match.

When will electronic line calls be available?

2007 champion Andre Kurniawan Tedjono had a very tough day as a number of his shots were called out. This frustrated him so much that he hotly requested the umpire for a change of line judges. The umpire, however didn’t agree and when Andre’s protests persisted, he was awarded a yellow card. He wasn’t able to regain his composure and lost his second game 10-21 to India’s Arvindh Bhat.

Quarterfinals – Even the top falls

Women singles top seed Pai Hsiao Ma fell in 3 games to Yao Xue. Yao simply just had the right tactics and shots to counter Pai’s tactics.

The same went for Simon Santoso, who also fell to Korea’s Lee Dong Keun (pictured). Dong Keun persisted in his attacks, forcing Simon on the defensive. Simon was able to bounce back in the 2nd game but it was too late as Dong Keun quickly set up opportunities for smashes, earning an impressive 6-point run to get ahead of Simon.

Beating the former world #3 would have been Lee’s best victory to date if not for his win over current world #13 Liew Daren last week in Australia.  That quarter-final finish made him the top-ranked active men’s singles player in Korea but a good result in Auckland would give him that much more confidence as he prepares to shoulder his team’s responsibility in next month’s Sudirman Cup.

For now, though, this earned Lee Dong Keun the opportunity to face off against rising star Xue Song, who progressed through after Ajay Jayaram retired due to a left ankle injury

Of tactics and stamina conservation

A tired pair of Vita Marissa and Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella faced off against Greysia Polii and Anggia Shitta Awanda. Prior to this match, Vita had already played 3 other matches, 2 of which went to rubber sets. The key to winning here was the ability to conserve stamina and strike only when a prime opportunity presented itself. Variella was able to hold double duty of attacking and covering for her partner as she smashed her way through to take the third game 21-11.

On semi-finals day, Malaysia will be left with the women’s doubles pair of Vivian Hoo and Woon Khe Wei (pictured) as their mixed pairs of Tan Aik Quan and Lai Pei Jin faltered in the 3rd game to Korea’s Kim Dae Eun and Kim So Young, and Chooi Kah Ming and Ow Yao Han fell to the fast and furious attacks of Bona Septano and Afiat Yuris Wirawan.

Hoo and Woon now face the Australian Open champions in the semi-finals while Septano and Wirawan go up against men’s doubles top seeds Angga Pratama / Ryan Agung Saputra, the only other champions from Sydney last weekend who also made it to the semis in New Zealand.

Click here for complete Friday results

About Kira Rin