MALAYSIA OPEN 2014 R32 – Koreans trouble top seeds

Several big names had shaky starts in the Malaysia Open Superseries Premier, dangerously scraping through their opponents after fighting three tough games. The drastic change of weather from freezing Korea […]

Several big names had shaky starts in the Premier, dangerously scraping through their opponents after fighting three tough games. The drastic change of weather from freezing Korea to scorching Malaysia presented Tai Tzu Ying with a nasty cold which, fortunately, did not stop her from winning her first round.

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

Fourth seeds and world #5 Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan were in great danger of losing to Lee Sang Joon / Shin Baek Cheol (pictured), who made their international tournament debut at home last week. Showing off strong defence and amazing speed, Lee/Shin took the first game and were close to wrapping up the second, but the Chinese pair eventually caught up and went on to finish the decider in their favour.

“Our condition today is abnormal. We’re not used to the venue yet.  That’s why it was a tough match for us. I think our opponents played well. They were probably coming up against us with the aim to just fight their best and see how it goes. Our goal is to win the title, but we’ll take it one step at a time from here,” said Liu.

Earlier in the day, 18-year-olds Chae Yoo Jung and Kim Ji Won (pictured) also threatened to take their match from second-seeded Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl. Chae/Kim had the first game easily, but the Danes proved that experience matters as they then put an end to the match by taking the next two games 21-11, 21-17.

“We couldn’t play well today because the crowd isn’t here yet. We started very slowly. The Koreans are good, but we got a bit annoyed because there were lots of shouting. We taught them a lesson today, and we’ll be better prepared to teach them a better lesson the next time we meet,” commented Kamilla Rytter Juhl post-match.

On the other hand, Chae Yoo Jung said, “[When we won the first game], we gained the confidence that we are able to do well, but we didn’t think that we would win the match. We only wanted to try to do as much as we could.”

Following Liu/Qiu, two other fourth seeded pairs, Xu Chen / Ma Jin and Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth / Rizki Amelia Pradipta shared the same fate of almost losing their matches to their unseeded Korean opponents in the mixed doubles and women’s doubles respectively. Lee Yong Dae / Shin Seung Chan were the only Koreans who bagged victory following a three-game match, beating Chai Biao / Tang Jinhua in the mixed doubles to meet first seeds Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei tomorrow afternoon.

Cold and victory for Tzu Ying

Tai Tzu Ying (pictured) outshined Yip Pui Yin in straight games, but she confessed to having considered pulling out of the tournament as she was – and still is – suffering from a cold.

“I started having fever symptoms on Sunday night, and I actually thought of withdrawing from the match today if I still did not feel well enough to play. I spent more than half the day yesterday sleeping and fortunately I’m feeling better today. But I’m still having a cough, and I still feel out of breath while playing,” said the 19-year-old, who will face Bellaetrix Manuputty of Indonesia in the second round of the Malaysia Open.

“I’ve played against her a few times, and we’ve each had our share of wins and losses. The wins I’ve got against her were very hard-earned ones. She’s a very tough opponent. I hope that I’ll be better tomorrow,” commented Tai.

India’s P. V. Sindhu has had a very good year in 2013, and she hopes that 2014 will be a great year as well. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal both move on to the second round, both having beaten Indonesian players, Lindaweni Fanetri and Hera Desi (pictured) respectively. Sindhu’s opponent in the next round is Korea’s Bae Yeon Ju, who also defeated an Indonesian – Aprilia Yuswandari. With that, Bellaetrix  Manuputty became the only Indonesian lady to advance into round two of the women’s singles discipline.

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About Ee-Lyn Ooi