FRENCH OPEN 2018 Day 1 – Chou Tien Chen: “When am I supposed to rest?”

Despite their former title holder status, several players were abruptly stopped in their march towards another win in France for the first Parisian leg of the new tournament format initiated […]

Despite their former title holder status, several players were abruptly stopped in their march towards another win in France for the first Parisian leg of the new tournament format initiated this year by the Badminton World Federation. Among them, none other that Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen, the recent Denmark Open finalist, and China’s Asian Games gold medallists Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan.

By Tarek Hafi, Badzine Correspondent live in Paris.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Coubertin’s sweetheart out

World number four Chou Tien Chen, exhibited some of his best badminton skills over the last few months, earning titles in Singapore and Korea this year, but also a couple of huge finals, including the Asian Games and the one last week in Odense, Denmark. However, the Taipei native appeared unable to find his consistency on Tuesday in Paris against determined Dane Rasmus Gemke.

Rasmus Gemke kept an amazing pace throughout the match, exhausting his opponent from the beginning: “I could tell that Chou Tien Chen was really tired from his week in Denmark so I pushed him hard, and knew I had to keep a high level throughout the match,” commented the young Danish player.

Chou Tien Chen, on the other hand, obviously had a different mindset after his loss, appearing  exasperated towards the tough schedule imposed by the tour: “I am very, very tired. I played the final last week in Denmark, I had to take a bus yesterday at five in the morning to reach the Copenhagen airport and now I am playing on Tuesday my first round match.  When am I supposed to rest and recover from my previous week?  It is simply impossible,” said the number one Chinese Taipei player to Badzine.

While Chou was sent packing today, his opponent Rasmus Gemke (pictured left), with his 21-11, 18-21, 21-12 win, is now en route to the second round.  There he is set to face his compatriot and teammate Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus, who battled hard against Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in a three-game match.

Japan’s quest

Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan (pictured right) were the other former winners in Paris who stumbled on their first round match in the 2018 edition. The Chinese duo never seemed able to counter-attack Japan’s Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao. The former world #7 belong to an incredible armada of extra-achieving women’s doubles pair, conquering and strengthening their domination in tournament after tournament.

With already five pairs ranked in the world’s top ten, it’s a given that Fukuman and Yonao will rejoin their compatriots towards summit of the list soon enough if they keep performing like this.  Their participation in the top-tier events happens because of BWF mandate.  Even though they were demoted from Japan’s national A Team, the usual consequence of  being relegated to Grand Prix Gold/Super 300-level tournaments cannot apply because the BWF classifies them as Top Committed Players and requires them to participate in all and Super 1000 tournaments.


From partner to opponent

Joachim Fischer Nielsen might have stepped out of world badminton for a while, but the London Olympics Games bronze medallist didn’t lose any of his magic on court. The former world number one, now partnering Alexandra Boje, faced his former partner Christinna Pedersen and Mathias Christiansen on their very first round match for a titan battle that did not disappoint.

Pedersen and Christiansen, whom are enjoying great success together, were shown an early exit by the now-become outsider duo in a battle that lasted almost an hour and a half.  Fischer Nielsen and Boje won by a final score of 21-14, 18-21, 23-21.

Click here for complete Tuesday results


About Tarek Hafi