INDIA OPEN 2014 R32 – India-China Tensions

India, regarded as a second tier badminton nation, showed more promise than long presumed first tiered Malaysia in Round 1 action in Delhi by battling many of the best up […]

India, regarded as a second tier badminton nation, showed more promise than long presumed first tiered Malaysia in Round 1 action in Delhi by battling many of the best up to and beyond an hour.

By Aaron Wong.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Mixed Doubles: New Dance Partners Waltz Ahead

Having lost the second game in quick time and trailing 2-8 in the decider against the tournament’s 8th seeds Misaki Matsutomo / Kenichi Hayakawa (pictured shaking hands & wearing red) of Japan, Malaysia’s Lai Pei Jing / Chan Peng Soon (pictured wearing yellow) in their second Super Series as a pair pulled off an astounding upset before morning proceedings were over, 21-15, 8-21, 23-21.

Two distinctions of Chan’s mixed doubles career must have helped, one is being ranked as high as world #3 within the past twelve months as well as a strong heart from having endured and learned from frequently finding himself in tight scorelines a greater number of times, relatively speaking, than his peers who are on par.

By law of averages and experience, Chan’s side managed to narrow the gap at the eleventh hour but still needed to overcome being down 17-19 and then hold their concentration at 21-20 after letting slip their first match point.

To Lai’s credit, she provided sufficient poise to know how to exploit her partner or maintain his composure rather than feeling pressured to manufacture winning points all by herself.

This is the first time the Malaysian pair have cleared the first hurdle of a and such a promising start, less the simple fact of creating an upset but what transpired in the their third game, illustrates the organic potential inherent of their fresh partnership which debuted just seven weeks ago.

Men’s Doubles: Little Malaysian Resistance

At the opposite end of Day 2, Malaysia’s early joy had turned to despair where in men’s doubles, China’s up and coming Kang Jun / Liu Cheng were responsible, the second time this year, for taking out in straight games the usually steady Hoon Tien How / Tan Wee Kiong who are seeded 7th. 21-6, 21-18.

London Olympic Silver medallists Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen, who are usually too strong at this point in time for Tan Boon Heong and his erstwhile partner Koo Kien Keat, unsurprisingly swept aside Tan trying out a new sidekick in Ow Yao Han (both pictured left), 21-17, 21-14.

Singles: India-China Duels

Both men’s and women’s singles showcased close battles which you hate to see either side lose so soon in the tournament. In this their first encounter, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark commanded the court against the best teenager on the circuit, Japan’s Kento Momota who is enjoying a career high at world #12.  21-19, 21-14.

Although there were mixed fortunes for the locals, they did prove how close right now they are to the best in the sport by forcing Chinese top 10 players to have to dig into extra reserves of athleticism.  In terms of loveliness to watch and classic singles finesse, India’s Kashyap Parupalli (pictured top and below right) and China’s Wang Zhengming (pictured top) the 6th seed, supplied exactly an hour’s worth of entertainment. It was the player of lithe physique and a track record for emerging on top in marathon matches, the Indian, who prevailed, 21-12, 17-21, 21-12.

Another marathon man, China’s Du Pengyu, was a lucky 7th seed to progress, but only barely over local hopeful Sai Praneeth B who has yet to crack the top 30.  16-21, 21-10, 21-19.

As for gritty attitude and unorthodox strokes, the women’s match between P.V. Sindhu and Wang Shixian was worthy of a final rather than an opening round.  However, it seems that homeground support or build up of expectations in the media did not work in Sindhu’s favour, which only helped propel Wang who has been showing increased stamina of late to complement her normally audibly unflinching determination, towards her first victory in their four meetings. 21-15, 12-21, 21-10.

Click here for complete results from Day 2

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 @