WORLDS 2015 Day 1 – Zulkiffli claims first seed upset

Zulfadli Zulkiffli of Malaysia claimed the honour of being first to upset a seeded player at this year’s Total BWF World Championships.  He stunned Hong Kong Open winner Chou Tien […]

Zulfadli Zulkiffli of Malaysia claimed the honour of being first to upset a seeded player at this year’s Total BWF .  He stunned Hong Kong Open winner Chou Tien Chen Monday in Jakarta.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Chou Tien Chen came into the 2015 Total BWF World Championships riding high.  Just a few weeks ago, he beat two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan at home.  That, along with his first ever Superseries late last year have made this a real high period in his career.

However, Chou’s ups have also been balanced by some downs.  He suffered a shock loss at the Universiade last month to an unsung Korean.  On Day 1 of the Worlds, it was the turn of unseeded Malaysian Zulfadli Zulkiffli (pictured) turn to topple the new star, who was the first of only 3 top ten players to take to the courts in Jakarta today.

The first game was a total blowout and Chou Tien Chen (pictured) never seemed to be in it.  The second was perilously close, with the Malaysian surging ahead to a promising 18-16 lead only to be reeled in and to find himself having to save a match point before finally taking it 22-20.

“The second game was very tough,” said Zulfadli Zulkiffli after the match.  “Of course, he’s the better player, he’s the world #6, but at the end of the second game when the score was close, net-to-net and gap-to-gap, I just focussed on each point one at a time.

“Of course I feel very happy because I can beat Chou Tien Chen.  Actually, the pressure was all on him.  I just played my normal game.  As an underdog player, I just enjoyed my game.”

Despite being the highest-ranked Malaysian men’s singles player when the qualification list for the Worlds came out in May, Zulkiffli might be considered lucky to make it as the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) did elect to exercise their right to choose and selected him along with Lee Chong Wei, the #3 Malaysian on the list, ahead of #2 Chong Wei Feng.

Asked if he felt this win justified the confidence BAM showed in him, Zulkiffli replied, “Oh yes, of course,” adding that this was “not at all” on his mind going into his first round match.

“Actually, BAM has been helping us independent players and they gave me the opportunity to play here.  I’m very happy to win this match.

“Chou Tien Chen has done really well in the Superseries, and I hope with this win, I can gain experience and take it as a motivation for me to give me confidence in the next tournament and the next round, too.”

The first seeded player to make an appearance was home favourite Tommy Sugiarto (pictured).  He overcame an early deficit to defeat Spain’s Pablo Abian in two.  The Worlds are scheduled such that all seeds in doubles and in women’s singles have byes until the second round but some of these matches will share court time Tuesday with the second half of the men’s singles opening round matches.

Click here for complete Day 1 results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @