WORLDS 2017 Day 1 – Red card drama

Day 1 of the BWF World Championships saw all of the seeded players come through safely, although an injured Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk and an off-the-boil Shi Yuqi were made to work […]

Day 1 of the BWF saw all of the seeded players come through safely, although an injured Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk and an off-the-boil Shi Yuqi were made to work hard to progress. The highest point of drama on the opening day was a tight mixed doubles won by Labar / Fontaine that saw a red card brandished by the umpire and rescinded by the referee.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Badmintonphoto.

Dutchman Nick Fransman, ranked outside the top 100, reeled off an impressive run of 8 points from 9 to close a large gap and eventually take the game against 11th seed Tanongsak Saesomboonsuk (pictured left) of Thailand.

The Thai player, with heavy strapping on his knee, came through the next two games with increasing confidence, but may face a sterner test on day 2 against Zulfadli Zulkiffli.

Other top seeded players made light work of their opponents, with Son Wan Ho, Lin Dan and Srikanth Kidambi all progressing in straight games.

Lin Dan (pictured right) was in particular form as he despatched home favourite Keiran Merrilees with relentless play, 21-15, 21-10 in 39 minutes.

Home favourite Merrilees, who has recently recovered from surgery on his hand, admitted to host broadcasters after the match that he struggled to prepare mentally for the game because of his opponent, and was almost sick with nerves whilst on court.

Lin Dan’s Chinese compatriot, fourth-seeded Shi Yuqi (pictured left) of China was pushed to the limit by Irish journeyman Scott Evans, though, as extra points were required to settle both games, the final score 23-21 22-20.

The French team had a successful day as half of their Day 1 competitors progressed to the next round, but this effort was overshadowed for the controversy on the TV court in the match between Ronan Labar / Audrey Fontaine (pictured right) and Fadhilah / Anggraini.

Before the excitement of a close deciding rubber score of 27-25 is considered, the match stood out most for the production of a red card for the French coach.

A misunderstanding between the umpire, players and coach whilst the court-side boxes were repaired saw the card brandished after the coach and players missed the umpire ask four times for them to return to court.

Later the penalty point was rescinded after the intervention of the tournament referee in a curious series of events.

Many of the British players will have fond memories at the venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but mixed performances saw all the Scottish competitors on Day 1 beaten, with only Smith/Walker, Lane/Pugh and Ouseph progressing for England.

Rajiv Ouseph (pictured left), who suffered heartbreak in those Commonwealth games here, has an unenviable draw as he next plays Sameer Verma of India with the hope of setting up a match against Lin Dan or Emil Holst.

The full results for the day can be found here.

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