INDIA OPEN 2014 Day 1 – No sweat for some

The first day of any tournament inevitably draws a vast majority of local players vying for the main draw and this week’s India Open Superseries follows the trend. What is […]

The first day of any tournament inevitably draws a vast majority of local players vying for the main draw and this week’s follows the trend. What is surprising, however, is the low number of overseas qualifiers in contrast with the density of top seeds registered, which almost resembles the world top ten lists across every badminton discipline prior to last minute withdrawals.

By Aaron Wong.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Visitors take a cruise

At Grand Prix-level tournaments over the past year, we have become accustomed to seeing numerous qualifiers of the calibre of China’s Gao Huan, former World Championship silver medallist Cheng Shao Chieh of Taiwan, Singapore’s national squad, and the cream of world juniors. There’d be that many that, disappointingly, certain former top twenty players with renewed vigour must be ousted early.

But there was no danger of such heartache in Delhi on Tuesday as the visitors were oddly few including a current Olympic champion and a current China Masters Superseries titleholder. The latter, China’s Liu Xin (pictured above), never let either of her opponents reach double digits in any game.

The visitors playing in the usual disciplines almost all cruised through in under half an hour. Women’s singles specialist Pai Hsiao Ma, partnering Liao Kuan Hao, lost in the decider of her mixed doubles attempt, 21-14. 13-21, 9-21.

Strange Seedings

Do the seedings sometimes make you wonder?

Because they should.

How is it that 2012 London Olympic champion Fu Haifeng partnering mixed doubles world #1 Zhang Nan (pictured), who was a top 10 men’s doubles player in his own right, have to qualify but Malaysia’s Tan Boon Heong with new cohort Ow Yao Han, ranked above 100, find themselves in the main draw?

Discretion was obviously used to bestow sixth seed status on current women’s doubles world #1 Wang Xiaoli in a reformed former top of the charts partnership with Ma Jin, the recent All England beaten finalist. Yet, the combination of the other current world #1 with Ma’s All England partner Tang Yuanting is unseeded.

With foresight, much less with hindsight, really what was to be gained from making a several times superior player and proven major tournament winner like Liu Xin play the qualifying rounds here apart from demonstrating that the authorities could choose to?

Click here for complete results from the qualifying rounds

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @