SUDIRMAN CUP 2013 Day 1 – 5 for China, 4 for Denmark

In the Putra Stadium this afternoon, China and Denmark signed victories against their first opponents of the week. Denmark saw their women’s singles fall when Gu Juan from the opposing […]

In the Putra Stadium this afternoon, China and Denmark signed victories against their first opponents of the week. Denmark saw their women’s singles fall when Gu Juan from the opposing team claimed a point for her country, while India’s PV Sindhu threatened to drop a blot on China’s clean sheet by pushing Wang Yihan to the decider.

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

The afternoon at the Bukit Jalil Putra Stadium was calm and quiet. There weren’t many spectators on the seats – only approximately a hundred – and the competing teams watching from the bench were the main group of people cheering for their teammates on court. Before the matches commenced, the teams stepped onto their respective courts to cheer for themselves as they supported each other by the shoulder in a circle and chanted their own slogans.

Warming up the floor for the afternoon session, defending champions China went on to match against India. After China’s second top mixed doubles pair, world #3 Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei grabbed the opening match from Tarun Kona / Ashwini Ponnappa to secure a first point for their team, Chen Long marched into the stadium as China’s leading man to nail a second by beating India’s Kashyap Parupalli (pictured below).

I was a little nervous as this is my first time playing the lead role for China, but as I won the first game, I felt better. The pressure is higher playing in a team championship compared to an individual one, because every win or loss is not of mine alone, but we’ll take it a match at a time and do our best,” said Chen Long, who came to Kuala Lumpur as China’s biggest gun in men’s singles, with the absence of Lin Dan.

Despite a shaky start against India’s top men’s doubles pair Akshay Dewalkar / Pranaav Jerry Chopra, All England champions Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan (pictured top) gladly wrapped up the victory for the Chinese troop. Earning a good start at their first time playing in a team championship, Liu giggled as he said, “I think our performance can be considered a pass.” Qiu then added on, “We did fine, seeing that we were able to come out of the game in such a nerve-racking situation.

In the women’s singles division and 4th match between the teams, Wang Yihan was close to suffering the same fate as Wang Shixian in the 2011 edition of the . Two years ago in Qingdao, Wang Shixian failed to manage a clean sweep for China in their first match of the week, losing to Juliane Schenk of Germany. This time in Kuala Lumpur, Wang Yihan was troubled by 17-year-old PV Sindhu (pictured left), who came to the fore of India’s squad in place of the absent Saina Nehwal. Fortunately for China, Wang came back in the end and secured her match from Sindhu, who just won a title at the Malaysia Grand Prix Gold two weeks ago.

On their aim for this team championships, Sindhu stated, “We will be playing Indonesia tomorrow. I hope everyone gives their best, and we’ll see what happens from there.

China closed the curtains with a 5-0 victory against India as Yu Yang / Wang Xiaoli ousted Ashwini Ponnappa / Pradnya Gadre, presenting Ponnappa with her second loss of the day. China will take on Indonesia on Tuesday evening after India meets them on Monday.

Jan O: Never say never

On court two, Singapore –  competing for the first time in the elite division of the Sudirman Cup – tried their luck against Denmark. Though Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Vanessa Neo did not trouble Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen much in the mixed doubles, Singapore’s first men’s singles player Derek Wong presented Jan O Jorgensen with a blow as he stole the first game from the Dane.

I’m not really surprised about that. Derek is a player who can come up with sharp games,” said Jorgensen after marking the second point for Denmark. “It was a good start, though.

Of course Gade’s retirement is a change to the team. It’s a blow to not have him here, nobody can stand in for Peter, but I’m trying the best I can. We’re aiming for a medal here,” continued the Dane, who shares the same role as Chen Long in the first time absence of established veterans from their respective teams.

Taking up the challenges at the Sudirman Cup with a different team from before, Jorgensen commented, “Previously we had a big chance in all categories, but now our women’s singles needs more experience. But never say never.  Anything can happen here in the Sudirman Cup. We might need the luck that we had in Qingdao two years ago.

Men’s doubles Carsten Mogensen / Mathias Boe secured Denmark’s victory for the day by triumphing over Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Terry Yeo Zhao Jiang 21-10, 21-12, but their clean sheet was stained as Denmark’s current best women’s singles, world #80 Line Kjaersfeldt lost her match in straight games to Gu Juan (pictured right) of Singapore. Denmark left the stadium winning 4-1 against Singapore following Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl’s victory over Vanessa Neo / Yao Lei.

On the adjacent courts, where the teams fight not for the Cup but for bragging rights to a higher place in the mixed team pecking order, Scotland got the better of Russia, losing only their men’s doubles scratch pair of Robert Blair / Paul Van Rietvelde to Russia’s world #17 Vladimir Ivanov / Ivan Sozonov. In group 3, Philippines won their first match of the week, beating New Zealand 3-2, while Sri Lanka defeated Turkey with the same score in the matchup that ended earliest this afternoon.  Sri Lanka’s victory was won with two points each contributed by the Karunaratne brothers Niluka and Dinuka (pictured left).

Sunday afternoon results:
Level 1
China beat India  5-0
Denmark beat Singapore  4-1
Level 2
Scotland beat Russia  4-1
Level 3
Philippines beat New Zealand 3-2
Sri Lanka beat Turkey 3-2

Click here for complete Day 1 results

About Ee-Lyn Ooi