CANADA OPEN 2016 QF – Canadian stars survive ‘their day’

Top Canadians Toby Ng, Michelle Li, and Adrian Liu all enjoyed Canada Day wins to reach what was still a very international semi-final round at the Canada Open Grand Prix. […]

Top Canadians Toby Ng, Michelle Li, and Adrian Liu all enjoyed Canada Day wins to reach what was still a very international semi-final round at the .

Story and photos by Yves Lacroix of Badmintonphoto (live in Calgary)

Despite the absence of superstar Lee Chong Wei in this year’s edition of the Canada Open, the smaller crowd on hand at the Markin McPhallin Centre in Calgary for the quarter-final session couldn’t have chosen a better way to spend their national holiday.

The day started off with some bad news as defending women’s doubles champion Ashwini Ponnappa from India had to forfeit from both her mixed doubles and women’s doubles for medical reasons.

The ones who made the decision to feature mixed doubles for the first three matches on Court 1 must have been very proud of their choice as these first encounters turned out to be tough and entertaining battles.  Second seeds Sam and Chloe Magee of Ireland might have thought that things were going well against Australians Sawan Serasinghe and Setyana Mapasa after the first game ended 21-8 in their favour but things suddenly turned around and the Oceanians came back and toppled the Europeans 21-16, 21-15 in the remaining games.

A similar story almost happened between unseeded Canadians Toby Ng and Rachel Honderich against the top-seeded Austalians Robin Middleton and Leanne Choo (pictured).  The Australians were only two points away from victory but Ng and Honderich cut the grass under the Australians’ feet and clinched the second game 22-20.

The third game saw the Canadians rise to a 17-12 lead but the Australians sailed through the storm and brought the match to a 21-21 tie in the decider.  Much to the chagrin of the crowd, the last two points went to the Australians, the very last rally ending on a controversial line call, ending the match in an anti-climax atmosphere.

Both Ng and Honderich (pictured) advanced in level doubles however.  Honderich and Leanne Choo were the beneficiaries of the walkover by the defending champions, while Ng and Adrian Liu beat compatriots Barkman/Grymonpre.

Also in men’s doubles, third seeds Matthew Chau and Sawan Serasinghe went down to Andrei Adistia and Adam Dong in just 31 minutes.  Adistia, still representing Indonesia, moved to Canada two weeks ago and now works for a club in the Greater Toronto Area.

The seeding committee had perfectly predicted the outcome of the semi-finals of women’s singles as all top four shuttlers – which includes three qualifiers to the Rio Olympics – survived the quarter-final stage.  Three of the four ladies – Linda Zetchiri, Zhang Beiwen, and Michelle Li – had no trouble against their opponents.  The fourth, Iris Wang of the U.S.A., had to bounce back from a second-game loss against Tanvi Lad of India.

Linda Zetchiri (pictured) came through in straight games against the other Indian quarter-finalist, Gadde Ruthvika Shivani.  “I am obviously quite happy with this result even if I never enter a tournament with expectations.  I am challenging myself in every match and I try to focus on the things I have worked on and see if they are working,” said the always talkative Bulgarian after the match.

Michelle Li (pictured top) was the one to end the Cinderella run of Laura Sarosi.  The Hungarian, in only the third Grand Prix competition of her career, knew she had added pressure against the defending champion and home favourite.

“I have been training for a month in Portugal with other Olympic qualifiers but I wanted to participate in a higher ranked tournament to get a feel of the level I will be encountering in Rio,” said Sarosi, who is well-known for her fair play gesture at the European Championships this year.  (to read more on that story, see here and here)

“I was nervous before playing her but despite my loss, I am satisfied with my overall results.”

Former World number one and third seed Lee Hyun Il breezed through against Pablo Abian of Spain.  India’s Sai Praneeth had similar success against Raul Must of Estonia.  First seed Ajay Jayaram however had to stretch his match to three games against countryman Harshil Dani.

In the very last match of the day and before a thinned but nonetheless interested crowd, 2010 finalist Brice Leverdez (pictured) needed 65 minutes to oust second-seed H. S.  Prannoy.  The see-saw battle ended 20-22, 23-21, 21-18 in favour of the Frenchman, who raised his arms in the air to celebrate his entry into the semi-finals.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

Yves Lacroix

About Yves Lacroix

Based in Montréal, Yves has been an archivist for most of his career and started badminton photography early in the millennium. He has been part of the team since its infancy and his work both behind the camera and behind the photo website is key to the success of Badzine.