World class action at Australian Badminton Open
21 June 2017
BADMINTON: The 2017 Australian Badminton Open program unfolded today at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, with a jam-packed day of action featuring a host of Olympic champions and top ranked players all looking for wins.
For the Australian team, they flourished on the doubles court in Day 2 action.
In their first match as a new doubles pairing, Aussies HD Tang and Cham Cheng were victorious over their fellow Australians Jacob Schueler and Nathan Tang (21-19 21-14).
“We were so nervous – both our bodies were frozen, we were like statues at the start. It was a 50-50 match, it could have gone either way,” Tang said.
“In the second set we were a lot more relaxed, a lot more confident in our shots. Neither of us has ever made round 2 of a SuperSeries so it meant a lot to us, we wanted to go out there and try our best.”
Australia’s highest ranked female players Gronya Somerville and Setyana Mapasa made a shock departure from competition, going down 21-19 21-19 to Poon Lok Yan and Tse Ying Suet of Hong Kong, ranked number 38 in the world.
Although there weren't any Aussies in the field, spectators at Olympic park were treated to a badminton spectable in the men's single competition when China’s Lin Dan, widely regarded as the world’s best ever player, was victorious 21-14 21-12 over Korea’s Lee Dong Keun.
After bowing out in the first round of the Indonesia Open last week to Wang Tzu Wei of Chinese Taipei, Dan was a little apprehensive heading into today’s match.
“Generally I think I performed quite well even though I was a bit nervous because of losing in Indonesia,” Dan said.
“So it took me quite a while to adjust. This is quite a challenge because it is very competitive among the male singles players and I think the one who adapts the fastest will have the best advantage. I didn’t think too far, I just wanted to focus on each single game and see where I go.”
The day provided a number of significant upsets, starting with Wei being knocked out of the men’s singles, losing in straight games to Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama (23-21 21-19). The world number 19 was expected to win, having previously defeated Tsuneyama three times.
The world number five Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei also bowed out, losing to world number 21 Huang Yuxiang of China in three games. The win was Huang's first in what was their second meeting.
In the women's singles, India’s PV Sindhu was given a scare in her opening round of the women’s singles, dropping the second set to Japan’s Sayaka Sato, before eventually recovering in the third to win 21-17 14-21 21-18. Sindhu, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist lost her momentum during the second game, and Sato was able to capitalise on a series of unforced errors.
“I should have finished it off in the second game,” Sindhu said.
“I was leading and I was confident but I think that I made too many errors from my side. I was very nervous about what to do because nothing was going right. I was leading 13-11 and then she was 17-13. I was blank and I couldn’t get points after that.”
The third set played out with long rallies, Sato’s signature style, but Sindhu was able to put regain her momentum and close out the match.
“In the break I was thinking about the second game but my coach told me, it’s over – you shouldn’t think about it and be prepared for the third set. So I went onto the court that way.”
The biggest shock came later in the night however, when world number 2 and reigning Olympic Champion Carolina Marin was defeated in two games by Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara, ranked 12th in the world.
Day 1 Recap
The 2017 Crown Group Australian Badminton Open officially got underway at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre today, with some exciting SuperSeries qualification matches taking place.
Twenty-two-year-old Louisa Ma was one of the best performing Australian of the day, winning her two singles qualification matches to progress through the tournament.
“I’ve never played in such a big setting like this, so I was a bit nervous going out there under the spotlight,” Ma who hails from Victoria said.
“I just had to make sure that I got some rallies going and not go for too much at first and just hang in there.”
Ma will next face Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the Round of 32, as well as kicking off her doubles campaigns.
Also impressive in the women’s singles was junior world number one Jia Min Yeo of Singapore. Min Yeo easily won her first two qualifying matches to advance in the tournament.
Straight off the back of his second place at the Indonesian SuperSeries on the weekend, Kazumasa Sakai of Japan was back on court this morning, overcoming Australia’s Anthony Joe (21-12, 21-10).
Later in the morning however he conceded defeat to Parupalli Kashyap of India (21-5, 21-16). Kashyap, the former world number 6, was simply arriving earlier to all the exchanges against Sakai who showed his fatigue having gone through qualifying in Jakarta and already played seven rounds there.
Full results and tournament schedule are avaiable HERE.