Close Call – Day 5: Singapore Open 2018

Close Call – Day 5: Singapore Open 2018

Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir’s fabled career almost added an unwelcome chapter today as the Olympic and World champions flirted with serious danger against a pair of their youthful compatriots in the Singapore Badminton Open 2018 semi-finals.

In fact, the top seeds had to save two game points versus Akbar Bintang Cahyono and Winny Oktavina Kandow in the first game before scrambling into the lead on their fourth opportunity. The vastly experienced duo pulled themselves together after the change of sides and, seizing the lead from 8-8, maintained their advantage until the winning point.

Sighing with relief, Ahmad and Natsir (featured image) were thankful to escape with their reputations intact and the score in their favour: 26-24 21-17 in 31 minutes.

“We kept making a lot of easy errors and, of course, they wanted to beat us. They were attacking well and I was thinking ‘No, we can’t lose this match. We are senior’,” said Natsir, a bit of ego kicking in.

“At the start of the second game I told Tontowi that we need to focus more, so then we were able to control the match.”

Smiling, Natsir acknowledged that they were lucky to get through the first game which put pressure on Cahyono and Kandow. Ultimately, that played into her and Ahmad’s hands against junior rivals in their first outing at this level. The result put Natsir into her eighth Singapore final and Ahmad into his fourth.

They will be in uncharted territory in the final, facing Malaysia’s Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai for the first time. The No.2 seeds won their semi-final efficiently against Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai (21-18 21-14) and are relishing a great match against the esteemed Indonesians.

In Women’s Singles, Gao Fangjie avenged a painful and costly loss to Nitchaon Jindapol en route to her first HSBC BWF World Tour final.

The tall 19-year-old elevated her attack in the decider as her opponent’s resistance waned, eventually triumphing 21-15 12-21 21-14 in 66 minutes. Flashing back to the hard-fought, China-Thailand Uber Cup semi-final in May, an emotional Gao recalled the bitter lessons learnt from that defeat by Jindapol; lessons that served her well this time around.

“It was painful but gained a lot of experience from that match. I learnt the importance of being mentally strong and handling pressure in a big tournament. I wanted to win today and I was mentally stronger,” noted the blossoming Chinese player.

There was also a show of mental prowess from 25-year-old Sayaka Takahashi who advanced to challenge Gao in the championship match by ousting another Chinese youngster, Han Yue. The Japanese overcame a poor start to grab command of their semi-final, showing off a wide-ranging shot selection that earned her a 21-18 21-14 victory.

“I felt tired at the start but then I started thinking positively and that change in mindset helped me win,” explained the left-hander who climbed from 11-16 down to take the first game.

Takahashi, who will be competing in her fourth final this season and hunting her third crown, said she will have to be patient against Gao and wait for her chance to attack.

Meanwhile, Men’s Singles will again be a same-country affair – just Chinese Taipei on this occasion as opposed to India a year ago. Top seed Chou Tien Chen withstood Qiao Bin’s best efforts to conquer the Chinese player, 21-12 18-21 21-16; pulling away impressively in the dying stages. Earlier, Chou’s team-mate Hsu Jen Hao outlasted wily veteran Nguyen Tien Minh in a two-game duel that stretched 79 minutes, featuring some long, exhausting rallies.

Winning 21-15 21-11, Hsu collapsed on court at the end and later declared “I feel like I just finished a marathon”.

“I have played Tien Minh 4-5 times and I have never defeated him before now. Today’s match was about who had more patience and better stamina. I am younger so maybe I had an advantage in terms of stamina, but he was a really good opponent. He was injured but he continued to rally with me, it was quite unbelievable,” said Hsu.

A disappointed Nguyen said he felt he could still win the match despite the first-game setback but the decisive factor was that the 35-year-old got cramp in his right thigh which hampered his movement.

Though the Vietnamese failed in his quest, veterans will still have a voice in tomorrow’s final with 30-year-old Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, aged 33, progressing to a Men’s Doubles showdown with a pair of younger Chinese. The Indonesians swept past their countrymen, Angga Pratama/Rian Agung Saputro, 21-16 21-13, to give themselves a shot at the title. Shortly, thereafter Ou Xuanyi, 24, and 19-year-old Ren Xiangyu held off their fellow Chinese, Han Chengkai, and Zhou Haodong (21-17 26-24).

“We did not expect to be in the final, especially as we are a new pair. We just wanted to do our best in every match. We won’t focus on who our opponents are in the final but just trying to win every point we can,” said Ou.

In Women’s Doubles, Japan’s production line of successful combinations was to the fore again as Ayako Sakuramoto/Yukiko Takahata and Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida confirmed an all-Japan tussle for the title. Sakuramoto and Takahata dismissed Thai top seeds, Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai, in straight games (21-17 21-19) to reach their fifth Tour final in five events; having won all four previous finals. Matsuyama and Shida bounced back from dropping the second game to thwart Germany’s Isabel Herttrich/Carla Nelte (21-18 17-21 21-16).

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李宗伟莱维德兹再次首轮相逢 —— 2018道达尔BWF世锦赛抽签

李宗伟莱维德兹再次首轮相逢 —— 2018道达尔BWF世锦赛抽签

李宗伟的2018道达尔BWF世锦赛之旅将注定不会平坦,在中国南京,李宗伟将会在冲击世锦赛冠军的道路中首轮遭遇法国选手莱维德兹。

身为本次赛事二号种子的李宗伟,在去年世锦赛首轮正是被这位法国人淘汰,这标志着李宗伟在这项自己曾经拿了多次亚军的赛事中早早出局。

当2018道达尔BWF世锦赛抽签仪式在世界羽联位于吉隆坡的办公室揭晓之时,你会发现,李宗伟同莱维德兹这场重量级对决只是众多值得关注的比赛之一。

男子单打

卫冕冠军安赛龙(丹麦)将会同奥运会冠军谌龙(中国)位于1/4区,另外一些来自中国的重量级名字石宇奇以及五次世锦赛冠军林丹则位于2/4区,两人很有可能在第三轮狭路相逢。

亚锦赛冠军桃田贤斗(日本)目前状态火热,他同安德斯·安东森(丹麦)位于3/4区,孙完虎(韩国)、李宗伟(马来西亚)、斯里坎特(印度)以及新近泰国公开赛冠军常山干太(日本)则处于4/4区。

女子单打

今年获得四个冠军的戴资颖(中华台北)很有可能将会在第三轮对阵张蓓雯(美国),何冰娇(中国)和李文珊(加拿大)则很有可能在八强相遇。卫冕冠军奥原希望(日本)可能在第三轮和同胞大崛彩或是马来西亚的吴堇溦相遇。而辛德胡也许将在四分之一决赛成为奥原希望的对手,这将是去年世锦赛决赛的翻版。

男子双打

头号种子吉迪恩/苏卡姆乔(印度尼西亚)已经在本赛季参加的五次赛事中四次夺魁,他们很有可能将会在四分之一决赛面对嘉村健士/园田启悟(日本)。

卫冕冠军刘成/张楠(中国)则成为了本次世锦赛的二号种子,但是抽签结果显示他们的卫冕之路不会平坦,中国组合在第二轮将遭遇中国香港的柯展聪/邓俊文,此后第三轮的对手也许会是日本的远藤大由/渡边勇大。

女子双打

头号种子卫冕冠军陈清晨/贾一凡(中国)目前为止还没有在本赛季获得一项冠军,她们也期待着在本土作战打破冠军荒。而在第三轮,陈清晨/贾一凡将有可能遇到同胞杜玥/李茵晖,而在八强,她们的对手也许会是泰国公开赛冠军波莉/拉哈尤(印度尼西亚)。

本次世锦赛女双比赛,日本共有四对选手,其中就包括了奥运会冠军松友美佐纪/高桥礼华、世锦赛亚军福岛由纪/广田彩花,这两对日本组合处在不同的半区。

混合双打

混双注定要在这次世锦赛中诞生新的冠军,因为此前的冠军拥有者,要不是没能参赛,要不就已经选择退役。头号种子郑思维/黄雅琼将会在第三轮遭遇严酷挑战,他们的对手很有可能是泰国公开赛冠军费萨尔/格洛瑞亚(印度尼西亚)。

*****

出席本次抽签仪式的有日本大使馆文化专员兼秘书长Toshihiro Maki、2018年世锦赛组委会副秘书长、场馆运营总监、市场总监程向阳、道达尔亚太及中东地区市场与服务、高级广告及传播执行官Gillian Wu,以及马来西亚羽毛球协会的官员和运动员。BWF裁判纳哈泰什·索纳普拉姆全程监督抽签全过程。

BWF首席运营官斯图尔特·博里对各位嘉宾和媒体人士的到来表示欢迎,同时也感谢了举办城市南京。博里、程向阳、Toshihiro Maki、Gillian Wu 、BWF财务委员会主席Lim Teong Kiat参与了抽签的不同环节。

奥运会银牌得主吴柳萤对于本次混双抽签结果表示了自信,“BLIBLI印度尼西亚公开赛上我们打入了决赛,对于这个结果我们很满意,” 这位马来西亚的明星说道。“我希望我们能将这种状态延续到之后的世锦赛和亚运会,我们正走在正确的道路上,并一直为此努力训练。”

她的同胞吴蔚昇、陈蔚强则在男双比赛中位列第13号种子,他们也期待在第二轮能碰到队友王耀新/张御宇。

“我们互相了解彼此的比赛风格,” 陈蔚强说道。“相比于对阵其他选手,面对队友时总会更困难,这要比一场普通比赛难得多。”

2018道达尔BWF世锦赛将会于7月30日至8月5日进行。

 2018道达尔BWF世锦赛全部抽签结果

China’s Young Heroes – Thomas Cup Review

China’s Young Heroes – Thomas Cup Review

China’s young generation came good on the big stage to help their team recapture the Thomas Cup six years after China last lifted the trophy.

In Shi Yuqi and the Men’s Doubles pair of Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, China found their heroes.

Nine-time winners China arrived in Bangkok for the TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2018 secure in the knowledge that they had, on paper, the strongest team of the 16. With Olympic champion Chen Long as spearhead, and World champions Zhang Nan/Liu Cheng, All England winner Shi Yuqi, and Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen to follow; and five-time World champion Lin Dan as the most reliable fifth-match player a team could have, China looked solid in all departments.

On the other hand, this edition of the Thomas Cup had several teams with all-round depth. Defending champions and top seeds Denmark, for instance, arrived with a mostly unchanged squad from the one that won the tournament two years ago. Japan, Indonesia and Chinese Taipei too have enjoyed success in singles and doubles in recent years, while Hong Kong and Thailand looked capable of springing upsets against more fancied opponents.

Having qualified with ease to the quarter-finals, China’s first big test was expected to be Chinese Taipei. However, the Chinese powered past their rivals dropping just a game; after Chen Long provided the opening, Zhang/Liu held off Lee Jhe-Huei/Lee Yang in a close contest before Shi Yuqi edged past Wang Tzu Wei.

Shi again proved his mettle the following day, in the semi-finals against Indonesia. The All England champion was steadiness personified against Jonatan Christie, and his victory set up the tie for Li/Liu to storm past Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan. The veteran Indonesians are renowned for their mastery of the serve-return and net situations, but Li and Liu did not allow them any breathing space up front, and despite losing the first game, stepped on the gas in the second and third, with the Indonesians unable to repel their fierce attack. The manner of their victory was a signal that China were going into the final with all engines running smoothly.

Japan got the start they wanted in the final with Kento Momota’s masterly display against Chen Long. World champions Zhang/Liu outclassed Takuto Inoue/Yuki Kaneko to get China back into the contest.

Shi Yuqi once again stepped up to the plate and with commendable assurance, stopped Kenta Nishimoto in his tracks.

Japan fielded the scratch combination of Keigo Sonoda and Yuta Watanabe against Li and Liu – and it worked brilliantly for them. The Japanese were electric in the opening game, and it took all of Li and Liu’s skills to rein them in. With two match points, Watanabe and Sonoda nearly took Japan to a fifth match, but Li and Liu showed they had finally matured into world-beaters, staying calm during the storm to steer China through. China’s young guns had steered the ship to safely.

And while Japan went down, in their spirited display they made a grand impression. They had come through the toughest group of the four – Group C – against Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Germany – dropping just two matches on the way.

The semi-final against Denmark was an engrossing tie. Momota can well claim to be the best player in the world at the moment as he dispatched World champion Viktor Axelsen 21-17 21-9. Denmark, missing Carsten Mogensen, fielded Mathias Boe and Mads Conrad-Petersen against Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda and the new combination clicked.

Hans-Kristian Vittinghus was Denmark’s hero during their title victory in 2016, but Kenta Nishimoto was the better player on the day as he closed out the contest 21-19 21-12.

Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen took the tie to the fifth match. Jan O Jorgensen’s experience was expected to favour him against Kanta Tsuneyama, but the match turned out differently, with Jorgensen unable to contain the attacking Tsuneyama. The defending champions were out of the tournament.

A lot of the credit for Japan’s performance went, deservingly, to Momota, who capped a sensational comeback from suspension. Momota continued from where he left in Wuhan – he won the Asian title in April – winning all his six matches in Bangkok.

Another player who led his team admirably was Lee Chong Wei. The veteran was once again the rock for his team, winning all three of his matches, including the group match against Viktor Axelsen, in which he started out with spellbinding speed before relying on his craft to fashion a 21-9 21-19 victory. He followed that up by beating Anthony Ginting in the quarter-finals to put Malaysia ahead, but the rest of his team couldn’t quite keep up.

Hosts Thailand, in Group B with Indonesia, Korea and Canada, couldn’t match the sensational display of their Uber Cup team, failing to progress past the group stage. The tie that cost the Thais dearly was against Korea, as they went down 3-2.

Of the other teams, France did well to qualify for the quarter-finals, finishing second in Group A, ahead of India and Australia.

Group C was reckoned to be the ‘group of death’, with Japan, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Germany. While Germany did finish last in the group, they gave a good account of themselves, losing narrowly to Hong Kong 3-2, and taking a point off Japan (4-1). Mark Lamsfuss/Marvin Emil Seidel will look back with some happy memories, as they beat Japan’s Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda and Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei/Or Chin Chung, both in close finishes.

Ahmad/Natsir To Skip Title Defence

Ahmad/Natsir To Skip Title Defence

Reigning World champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir will not be defending their title in Nanjing. The Indonesian Mixed Doubles duo (featured image) have declined their invitation to the year’s biggest individual event in Phase 2 of the qualifying process.

A few other prominent Mixed Doubles pairs too have declined their invitations. Last year’s runners-up Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen (China); Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto; Korea’s Seo Seung Jae/Kim Ha Na and Choi SolGyu/Chae YuJung too have declined. However, some of these players have qualified with other partners. Zheng Siwei, for instance, has qualified with Huang Yaqiong, while Praveen Jordan has accepted his qualification with Melati Daeva Oktavianti.

Among the reserves who are eligible in Phase 2 are England’s Ben Lane/Jessica Pugh (No.27); Denmark’s Mikkel Mikkelsen/Mai Surrow (No.35); Chinese Taipei’s Lu Ching Yao/Chiang Kai Hsin (No.37); Denmark’s Anders Skaarup Rasmussen/Line Kjaersfeldt (No.41); Thailand’s Tinn Isriyanet/Pacharapun Chochuwong (No.44); Chinese Taipei’s Liao Min Chun/Chen Hsiao Huan (No.48) and Thailand’s Bodin Issara/Savitree Amitrapai (No.49).

Few of the top qualified players or pairs in any other category have declined.

In Women’s Doubles, the fast-improving Wakana Nagahara and Mayu Matsumoto, who shot to World No.11 from No.45 within a year, have qualified as the first reserves.

Japan can count on a powerful armada in Women’s Doubles with Nagahara and Matsumoto, semi-finalists at the Yonex All England earlier this year, joining their compatriots Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi; Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota and Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto for the 30 July-5 August event in Nanjing.

Other eligible Women’s Doubles pairs in the reserves’ list include Korea’s Jung Kyung Eun/Chang Ye Na (No.28); Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan (No.32); Malaysia’s Soong Fie Cho/Tee Jing Yi (No.37); young Chinese duo Du Yue/Xu Ya (No.42); Thailand’s Savitree Amitrapai/Pacharapun Chochuwong (No.43) and Denmark’s Julie Finne-Ipsen/Rikke Soby.

Korean pairs Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee; Kim Hye Rin/Yoo Chae Ran and Chae YuJung/Kim So Yeong, Russia’s Olga Morozova/Anastasia Chervykova; England’s Lauren Smith/Sarah Walker; Hong Kong’s Poon Lok Yan/Tse Ying Suet and England’s Chloe Birch/Jessica Pugh have declined their invitations.

The Women’s Singles quota of 48 places has been filled in Phase 2. Japan’s Aya Ohori, World No.14, is first reserve and will qualify in case of a withdrawal before the draw.

In Men’s Singles, three players have become eligible from the reserves’ list. Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Yen Hao (No.26) has qualified as first reserve, as have Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (second reserve) and India’s Sameer Verma (third reserve).

Chinese Taipei had more reason to cheer as No.14 pair Liao Min Chun/Su Ching Heng qualified as first reserves in Men’s Doubles. They will join compatriots Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin; Lee Jhe-Huei/Lee Yang and Lu Ching Yao/Yang Po Han, who had qualified in earlier phases.

Last year’s World Championships runners-up Mohammad Ahsan and Rian Agung Saputro, who are with different partners now, have declined their invitation, as have Korea’s Kim Won Ho/Seo Seung Jae, and England’s Peter Briggs/Tom Wolfenden and Ben Lane/Sean Vendy.

Reserve pairs who have stepped into the vacated spots include Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen/David Daugaard (No.22); Indonesia’s Berry Angriawan/Hardianto Hardianto (No.25); Indonesia’s Hendra Setiawan and Malaysia’s Tan Boon Heong (No.28); Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe (No.29); China’s Han Chengkai/Zhou Haodong (No.30) and Thailand’s Bodin Issara/Nipitphon Phuangphuapet (No.31).

YOG Mascot #Pandi Launched

YOG Mascot #Pandi Launched

The Youth Olympic Games mascot #Pandi was launched by the Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee last week. Inspired by the jaguar, one of the most emblematic wild cat species found in northern Argentina, the mascot aims to inspire youth to embrace sport as a tool to make the world a better place, while raising awareness about the species’ risk of extinction.

The mascot’s name has a hashtag at the beginning to demonstrate its strong online profile. The jaguar, found in Argentina’s northern region, is in great danger due to human causes. Various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have warned about the risk of extinction as a result of the destruction of their natural habitat and hunting.

In the animated short, the young jaguar doesn’t give up when faced with challenges as it tries to reach the ribbons with colours that symbolise Buenos Aires 2018.

During the race it uses the positive energy of the sports found on the Youth Olympic programme to overcome all kinds of obstacles.

Exhaustion can’t get in the way of its final goal, to reach the Obelisk in downtown Buenos Aires, where it’s embraced by the ribbons to become the mascot for the third summer edition of the Youth Olympic Games.

With perseverance and the festive spirit it reveals upon reaching its goal, #Pandi symbolises the desire for Buenos Aires 2018, the first edition of an Olympic celebration with strict gender equality, to serve as an important source of inspiration to build a better world through sport.

“Like the young athletes that give their best to qualify for the Games, the Buenos Aires 2018 mascot overcomes all types of adversity to reach its goals,” said the president of the Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee, Gerardo Werthein.

The Olympic mascots are ambassadors to the Games and play a fundamental role in spreading the event’s message and the Olympic values of friendship, respect, and excellence among different audiences, especially children and youth.

BWF Council Proposes Innovative Changes

BWF Council Proposes Innovative Changes

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) Council will formally propose a suite of changes to enhance the sport at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) of members in May.

These recommendations are being made to ensure badminton – which has enjoyed a steady rise in key areas in recent years – remains competitive in the fast-paced, cutting-edge sports-entertainment industry.

At its meeting last November, the BWF Council endorsed a package of initiatives which aims to build significant value for badminton. Some of these have already been introduced and the recent launch of the HSBC BWF World Tour is another platform to roll out more of these upgrades and enhancements. The BWF Council’s primary focus is to optimise the presentation of badminton at the highest level. BWF has a strategic, 360-degree approach that covers these elements:

  • Enriching fan experience – attracting new fans
  • Raising the profiles of stars and emerging talent
  • Increasing the commercial value of badminton
  • Strengthening badminton’s global recognition as a cutting-edge sport
  • Enhancing the quality of its broadcast product
  • Innovating competition rules

A special edition of BWF’s newsletter Shuttle World has been circulated publicly, outlining the BWF Council’s rationale, including the goal of building greater suspense in badminton; shortening the length of matches and reducing physical and mental stress on players. Under the banner Enhancing Badminton’s Future, the document also highlights other considerations regarding boosting badminton’s commercial value and sports presentation. This information has also been condensed into an executive summary and a pictorial (below).

In an accompanying letter to BWF’s 189 member associations, BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer noted BWF cannot afford to rest on the successes it has reaped – but rather needs to be bolder and to go further in innovation.

Among the main enhancements that require the AGM’s endorsement are:

  • A new and enhanced scoring system of 5 to 11.
  • A reduction in on-court coaching.
  • A service-law change to introduce a fixed height for serves.

Changing the scoring system – with specific focus on elite international tournaments – is an essential part of this strategic, multi-dimensional plan to innovate our competition rules.

“Our aim is to enhance and enrich our sport with wide-ranging initiatives that will realise badminton’s vast global potential; taking it to unprecedented heights in all spheres.

“We must continue attracting and exciting fans – fans who have countless, amazing choices in a competitive global sports market.

It’s time for change: time to bring in new peaks, more excitement and increase broadcast and fan appeal,” said Høyer, urging his colleagues “to embrace change and do what is best for badminton”.

Please see related documents attached here: Enhancing Badminton’s Future.

Høyer Accepts SPIA Gold Award

Høyer Accepts SPIA Gold Award

Badminton World Federation President Poul-Erik Høyer on Sunday accepted the Gold Award for BWF from SPIA Asia for the ‘Best Global Sports Organization Operating in Asia’.

The award was announced at the 3rd SPIA Asia – Asia’s Sports Industry Awards & Conference in Bangkok on 9 November 2017. Høyer received the prize from Eric M Gottschalk (featured image; right), CEO of MMC Sportz Marketing LLC, organiser of SPIA Asia, at the InterContinental Hotel in Dubai.

BWF won the Gold Award over nine other nominees: International Tennis Federation (UK); International Cricket Council (UAE); Spartan Race (USA); ONE Championship (Singapore); FC Bayern Munich (China); United Arab Emirates Ju Jitsu Federation (UAE); Ultimate Fighting Championship (USA); Global Professional Tennis Coach Association (Switzerland), and Peter Burwash International (USA). Spartan Race won silver, while UFC won bronze.

BWF was also nominated for two other awards. The Dubai World Superseries Finals 2016 was nominated for ‘Best International Sporting Event Sanctioned by an International Federation’, while Shuttle Time Dubai was nominated in the ‘Best Youth Development Program of the Year’ category.

The Awards Gala was held at the end of a two-day conference (6 and 7 November 2017) which was attended by more than 300 delegates and 20 international speakers from various industry sectors. There were 17 Asian and six Thai award categories, and winners were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals for their achievements and contributions to the sports industry over the last 12 months.

The Sports Business Conference, titled ‘The Business of Sports –  Asia’s Sports Industry in the Fast Lane III’ – has been held annually since 2015 to celebrate the brands, agencies, marketers and organisations that influence the sporting landscape in Asia. The conference was endorsed and supported by Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Sports Authority Thailand, and the Tourism Authority Thailand.

In the ‘Best Global Sports Organization Operating in Asia’ category, entries were accepted from those sporting bodies that have a presence or reach in at least 15 countries, and with active grassroots programmes, talent development, regular competitions, and with a global fan base. The Awards Committee was composed of selected experts representing various fields of the sporting industry.

“The standard of award submissions and competition has been exceptionally high this year,” said Eric M Gottschalk, CEO of MMC Sportz Marketing LLC, organiser of SPIA Asia – Sports Industry Awards & Conference 2017. “Having started with almost 400 entries, all were subject to a fair and transparent judging process that culminated with thorough appraisals by a panel of 20 experts. In many categories the scoring was extremely close and the bronze, silver and gold winners announced at the SPIA Asia Awards Gala should be very proud of their achievement.”

Yamaguchi Wins Desert Classic – Singles Finals: Dubai World Superseries Finals 2017

Yamaguchi Wins Desert Classic – Singles Finals: Dubai World Superseries Finals 2017

Viktor Axelsen brought down the curtains on the event where his year-long stellar run began – the Dubai World Superseries Finals – with his fourth Superseries crown today.

The Dane outplayed Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in an 84-minute long Men’s Singles final, 19-21 21-19 21-15. Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi had earlier claimed the Women’s Singles crown in the most engrossing of the five finals, beating India’s Pusarla V Sindhu 15-21 21-12 21-19.

For the second time this year, Pusarla finished second-best to a Japanese in a major final that turned out to be a classic.

And just as Nozomi Okuhara outlasted the Indian in the TOTAL BWF World Championships final earlier this year in a 110-minute marathon, Okuhara’s compatriot Yamaguchi displayed the same sterling qualities in breasting the tape ahead of Pusarla in 94 minutes.

Yamaguchi’s triumph was the finest moment of her still-young career; the magnificence of her victory accentuated by the grandness of the stage on which she delivered it.

From the beginning, it was apparent that this was a contestation of warriors with contrasting qualities and approaches. Pusarla had the heavy artillery, and she pounded Yamaguchi’s fortifications without let-up during the early exchanges. With her lanky frame helping her deliver sharp clips and full-blooded smashes on either flank of her diminutive opponent, Pusarla was up and running before Yamaguchi got to grips with the attacking Indian.

The match took on a different character once the Japanese found her length. The nagging accuracy of the deep tosses began to hurt Pusarla; Yamaguchi dragged her back and forth across the court, making her lunge an extra step to reach the hairpin netshots that she conjured. Yamaguchi’s defences in better order, it was she who dictated the direction and tempo of every rally.

Pusarla’s attack had been blunted with stodgy defence; the hunter, had, in effect, been forced into a battle of attrition with the hunted. Denied the opportunities for the outright kill, Pusarla was caught in a reactive mode, but still showed great character to hang in.

Given the long drawn-out exchanges, there were sudden shifts in momentum. Yamaguchi was on a good run early in the third, only to lose patience and attempt to finish the rallies quickly, which played right into Pusarla’s hands; the Indian inched ahead at 13-9. Yamaguchi returned to type, and the match took on the contours of the famous battle between Okuhara and Pusarla not so long ago. On one occasion, with both sprawled on the floor after another excruciating rally, the crowd honoured them with a standing ovation.

At the very end, a couple of soft errors from Pusarla gave Yamaguchi the breathing space she needed. A final error from Pusarla drew curtains on her challenge.

Unusually for her, the Indian teared up while describing the heartbreak of another loss in a major final: “Of course, it’s really hard. The same thing happened in the World Championships. I have to let it go, it was a good week overall. I’d like to congratulate her. It happens.”

Yamaguchi, in her understated manner, acknowledged that this was the high point of her career: “This is the biggest moment. I’m happy I recovered from my defeat to her in the group match. That it was such a challenging match and to win through that is an incredible achievement. There were long rallies, but I was leading at the end, that gave me confidence. I knew she was getting slower at the end, but I knew she had enough energy to move quickly.”

Axelsen Outlasts Lee

Axelsen, younger and hungrier, wore down Lee. The Malaysian had his chances to take the match in the second, having erased a 14-19 deficit. Two mistakes at the critical point let him down.

Lee had been the more creative of the two, but Axelsen scrambled around and kept the points going, and his older opponent flagged with each lengthening rally.

The third game was all Axelsen’s; with both players unable to score quick smash winners, Lee opted for placement and high clears; he needed to convert the sudden openings, but the final touch deserted him. Axelsen refused to let his foot off the pedal, and there was an air of inevitability about the result early in the third even though Lee got to within a few points.

“In the second game he had a big lead, I got close but at 19-all I made a mistake on serve,” said Lee. “Viktor played better – he is younger. He was fast and was attacking all the way. He was quite confident.”

The champion, having completed his second victory in Dubai, could only marvel at his run of form: “Amazing feeling. I feel pretty awesome, to be honest, especially after such an amazing game. It’s what you dream of when you start off playing badminton as a kid. After losing the first game I tried to put on the positive glasses, so to say. I knew I had to work hard and I did that. I’m proud that I kept my cool and could go all the way.

“I seem to play pretty well here in Dubai. The tournament has been pretty good. Winning here kickstarted it all for me, and to win two titles here was great.”

Click here for results

Korea Light Up Gold Coast

Korea Light Up Gold Coast

As one of the most remarkable badminton stories played out in Gold Coast yesterday, the question on most minds was – how had the Koreans done it?

A team that was, on paper, the weakest of the traditional powerhouses, and with several of their great doubles stars having either retired recently or chosen to stay away, had pulled off one of the biggest surprises in badminton history. The TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017 couldn’t have hoped for a more climactic finish on its debut in Oceania.

New head coach Kang Kyung Jin had given a hint at the beginning of the tournament of what he expected of his team.

“We’re hoping to make the final,” he’d said, but few took notice. After all, there were other teams with greater depth, balance, and more crucially, experience. The Koreans had arrived in Gold Coast with a clutch of teenagers. The vehicle essentially had to move on three wheels – Son Wan Ho in Men’s Singles, Sung Ji Hyun in Women’s Singles, and Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee in Women’s Doubles. Any other victory would be a bonus.

And yet, with Son Wan Ho unavailable for the final, it was a tribute to the Koreans’ spirit that Choi Solgyu and Chae Yoo Jung turned the tables on the super-achieving Mixed Doubles Chinese pair, Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong, who flailed about in a torrent of nervous errors.

“When we started we were asked about our Men’s Doubles, and we were called a weak team, said Kang. “We tried to build our team spirit. We were in it together, and we believed we could do it.”

At the other end of the spectrum, China’s doubles coach Zhang Jun struggled to make sense of the abject collapse of their two heralded pairs.

“I think it was a combination of pressure and tiredness,” Zhang said. “Chen Qingchen played two matches in the semi-final; the second match finished quite late and there was no time to recover. We finished our team meeting only by 2am. But we decided to persist with Chen and Jia Yifan because they had good results against the Korean pair (Chang and Lee).”

China’s singles coach Xia Xuanze sought to explain the outcome as a result of the ongoing changes in the management of the team.

“We have a new structure and a new approach, with a lot of young players,” said Xia. “We tried some new strategies. We’re facing stronger opponents than ever before. We were pushed hard in the semi-final by Japan. It’s a good thing for us, as we will motivate ourselves to work even harder.”

Korea’s victory of the World Mixed Team Championships after 14 years promises the start of a new chapter for the country and for world badminton. It has been long since Korea savoured success in a team event, or even in multiple categories at the World Superseries or BWF World Championships. Head coach Kang and his team got the best possible start they could have hoped for with a young squad.

“This is a miracle,” Kang said. “Perhaps we will get more attention and more funding now. This can be a turning point for Korean badminton.”

European Resurgence in Rio

European Resurgence in Rio

Carolina Marin & Fernando RivasWith a haul of one gold, one silver and two bronze medals, Rio saw Europe’s best-ever badminton performance at the Olympics.

It was not merely in the medals tally, but in the manner of their performances, that Europe made a statement.

Carolina Marin (featured image) went where no other European Women’s Singles player before her had, claiming the title without ever being threatened. The Spaniard has now won all of the major finals she’s been in; her speedy, take-no-prisoners brand of badminton is the new standard which her contemporaries will have to match. Considering the constraints she has had to train under – the limitations of sparring partners, for instance –  her success will no doubt inspire other hopefuls across Europe.

Her coach Fernando Rivas promised “a new Carolina” before the competition in Rio began, and that was exactly what he delivered: a super-confident Marin, unencumbered by her relative lack of success in the MetLife BWF World Superseries season this year. Rivas had spoken about having tailored a training regimen for her that is apparently different from Asian systems; will her success inspire similar innovation across the badminton world in developing unique systems for individuals?Logo

“It is more than a medal because of everything behind the medal. I have the best team behind me, they helped me a lot and were amazing,” said Marin.

What must hearten Europe was that their success wasn’t of a single country, or in a single category.

Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl came within a heartbeat of a gold medal, with a 19-16 lead in the third game of their Women’s Doubles final against Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi. The Danes had recovered from their opening defeat to China’s Luo Ying/Luo Yu, getting steadier with each match, and matching their silver medal performance from the TOTAL BWF World Championships last year.

Christinna Pedersen & Kamilla Rytter Juhl2

“Badminton is getting competitive in all categories,” said Pedersen, after the Danes had beaten Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang in the semi-finals to prevent China from making the Women’s Doubles final for the first time ever. “Before the Olympics, we discussed the possibility that it might not be China this year. It’s good for badminton. China are not dominating like they did four years ago. It could’ve been any of six or seven pairs in the final – luckily, it’s us.”

Selena Piek and Eefje Muskens performed creditably too, making the quarter-finals after finishing second in Group A. The Dutch pair beat India’s Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa and Thailand’s Puttita Supajirakul/Sapsiree Taerattanachai in their group before going down in three games to Korea’s Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan in the quarter-finals.

Viktor Axelsen & Rajiv Ouseph

Viktor Axelsen lived up to pre-tournament expectations with a bronze medal in Men’s Singles. The Dane finished strongly, beating two-time champion Lin Dan in the bronze medal play-off, but he was a shade below his best in his semi-final against Chen Long.

That he was able to bounce back after his semi-final disappointment and win a podium place augurs well for the Dane and for Europe, since he is only 22 and has come close several times to winning the big titles.

Vladimir Ivanov & Ivan SozonovGreat Britain’s Rajiv Ouseph, who ran into Axelsen in the quarter-finals, too had a strong run. Ouseph’s standout performance was his three-game pre-quarter-final defeat over the stubborn Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia, after group wins over Czech Republic’s Petr Koukal and Japan’s Sho Sasaki.

“My loss in London (Olympics) stayed with me for a long time,” said Ouseph, when asked about his form. “I’ve worked very hard in training, obviously that experience (from London 2012) has helped me. I’ve been getting better and believing in myself and beating some top players has helped me against these guys.”

Other Europeans who stole the headlines in the opening week included Ukraine’s Maria Ulitina, with her upset of India’s Saina Nehwal; Estonia’s Kati Tolmoff, who shocked Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin; Ireland’s Scott Evans, a surprise winner over Germany’s Marc Zwiebler, and Bulgaria’s Linda Zetchiri, who made the Round of 16 beating Great Britain’s Kirsty Gilmour.

Europe also had big gains in Men’s Doubles. Yonex All England champions Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov finished on top of Group A beating top seeds Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (Korea), Lee Sheng Mu/Tsai Chia Hsin (Chinese Taipei) and Matthew Chau/Sawan Serasinghe (Australia). The Russians had their chances in their quarter-final against China’s Chai Biao/Hong Wei, going down in a tight match: 21-13 16-21 21-16.

But it was Chris Langridge/Marcus Ellis who created the most ripples in the category. The Great Britain pair, whose last impressive performance was at the BWF World Championships a year ago, shot back into prominence with an upset in their first match, over Korea’s Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang. Victory over Poland’s Adam Cwalina/Przemyslaw Wacha saw them through to the quarter-finals, where they surprised Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa.

Missed chances cost them dear in their semi-final loss to China’s Zhang Nan/Fu Haifeng, but they were able to put that loss behind them in their bronze medal play-off against another Chinese pair, Chai Biao/Hong Wei. The third game won comfortably at 21-10, Langridge and Ellis were able to command the attention of the British press.

Marcus Ellis & Chris Langridge

“It’s been a surreal week,” said Ellis, who explained that all the hard training at Milton Keynes was finally bearing fruit.

“We weren’t expected to get a medal. Coming here performing the way we have, beating the pairs we have is amazing. I don’t think we’ve performed like that ever. So to do it on the very biggest stage, the pinnacle of our careers, it is amazing. And I’m so happy we’ve managed to do it together because we have had some ups and downs.”

Chris Adcock & Gabrielle Adcock

If there was disappointment for Europe, it was in Mixed Doubles. That three strong European pairs were in Group B with China’s Xu Chen/Ma Jin had much to do with it, as the quarter-finalists were decided by the slimmest of margins. Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen and Great Britain’s Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock were unlucky to miss out, while Poland’s Robert Mateusiak/Nadiezda Zieba surprised everyone by making the quarter-finals.

The stirring run of the Poles made fans sit up and wonder: 40-year-old Mateusiak had shown that badminton was not the exclusive domain of the youthful. In more than one aspect, Europe’s performance in Rio might shape the way badminton is perceived in the immediate future.

千钧一发 —— 2018新加坡公开赛第五日

千钧一发 —— 2018新加坡公开赛第五日

阿玛德/纳西尔的传奇生涯险些在这一天增加一段令人失望的篇章,这对奥运会和世锦赛冠军得主在2018新加坡公开赛半决赛遭遇年轻同胞的顽强抵抗。

实际上,头号种子在同阿克巴/奥克塔维娜的首局比赛挽回了两个局点,然后他们终于抓住第四次机会取得首局胜利。经验丰富的二人组在交换场地后振作精神,在8-8后连续得分取得优势,并获得最终胜利。

对于两人能够脱离险境,阿玛德/纳西尔终于长出了一口气,而他们也用时31分钟以26-24 21-17淘汰对手。

“我们一直在犯很多低级错误,当然,他们想要击败我们,他们的进攻非常好,我也在想我们不能输掉比赛,我们实力更强,”纳西尔得意的说道。

“第二局开始我告诉阿玛德,我们需要更专注一些,这样就能控制比赛。”

纳西尔微笑的承认第一局比赛的胜利很幸运,这也因此让阿克巴/奥克塔维娜感到压力。最终,在双方的首次碰面中,阿玛德/纳西尔笑到了最后。这样纳西尔将会迎来自己的第八次新加坡公开赛决赛,阿玛德则是第五次。

他们将在决赛中面对完全陌生的对手——马来西亚的吴顺发/赖洁敏。二号种子在半决赛战胜了泰国组合德差波/沙西丽(21-18 21-14),渴望同令人尊敬的印尼组合完成一场伟大比赛。

在女单赛场,高昉洁终于报仇雪恨,而金达蓬则失去了首次进入世界巡回赛决赛的机会。

19岁的高昉洁在决胜局提高了自己的进攻能力,而她的对手抵抗明显减弱,最终在这场耗时66分钟的比赛里,高昉洁21-15 12-21 21-14击败对手。令人动情的高昉洁回忆起了今年五月份中国同泰国的那场半决赛,那次不敌金达蓬而学到的深刻教训,显然对她很有帮助。

“这很痛苦,但从那场比赛中也获得了很多经验,在那样的大型赛事,我学到了心理的重要性以及如何抗压,我想要在今天获胜,现在的我心理方面更强,”这位中国选手说道。

25岁的高桥沙也加在经历了另一位中国选手韩悦的考验后将会与高昉洁在女单决赛碰面。日本人克服了糟糕开局后,最终21-18 21-14赢得这场半决赛。

“开始阶段我感觉有些疲惫,但是之后心态的改变让我获得胜利,”这位左手持拍的球员说道,首局比赛她一度11-16落后。

高桥沙也加将会迎来自己本赛季的第四次决赛,也在期待拿到第三个冠军。同时她也认为在同高昉洁比赛时要保持耐心,等待进攻机会。

与此同时,男单决赛将会上演中华台北选手同室操戈的好戏,头号种子周天成经受住了中国选手乔斌的考验,并以21-12 18-21 21-16获胜,周天成本场比赛在关键时刻的表现令人印象深刻。早前,周天成的队友许仁豪同老将阮天明经历了一场79分钟的鏖战。

在以21-15 21-11取胜后,许仁豪瘫坐在球场上,并表示“我仿佛刚刚完成了一场马拉松”。

“我同阮天明交手过4、5次,此前从未击败过他。而今天的比赛就在于谁有更多耐心,谁更有毅力。也许因为我年轻一些,在毅力方面做得更好,但他真的是一位好对手。他受伤后继续和我战斗,这真难以置信。”许仁豪说道。

失望的阮天明认为自己虽然输掉首局,但依然会最终获胜,不过起到决定性作用的正是这位35岁的老将遭遇右腿抽筋,这妨碍了他的移动。

尽管越南人失败了,但是在决赛场依然会上演老将的传奇,30岁的阿山和33岁的亨德拉,他们将会同一对年轻的中国男双组合争夺最后的冠军。印尼人在半决赛21-16 21-13击败同胞普拉塔玛/萨普特罗。24岁的欧烜屹和仅有19岁的任翔宇在半决赛中阻挡了同胞韩呈恺/周昊东前进的脚步(21-17 26-24)。

“我们没想到会进入决赛,因为我们是一对全新组合,只想在每一场都拼尽全力,我们并不关注决赛对手是谁,只是想全力拿到每一分,” 欧烜屹说道。

在女双比赛中,日本组合成功在决赛会师。樱本绚子/高畑祐纪子和松山奈未/志田千阳将确保日本人拿到这项冠军。樱本绚子/高畑祐纪子淘汰了来自泰国的头号种子基蒂塔拉库/拉温达,21-17 21-19的比分确保了她们在参加的第五次赛事中迎来第五次决赛。松山奈未/志田千阳尽管输掉第二局,但是依然战胜了赫特里奇/内尔特(21-18 17-21 21-16)。

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老将焕发活力 —— 2018新加坡公开赛第四日

老将焕发活力 —— 2018新加坡公开赛第四日

2018新加坡公开赛四分之一决赛日的下午,一名男单老将在球场上重现辉煌;一对新混双组合首次闯进巡回赛的半决赛;一对女双组合在经历了前一天队友们纷纷出局的景象后又迎来一场胜利。

当年轻一代球星当仁不让的闪耀狮城,一些久经沙场的老将也期待着能在羽坛中有所作为,收获一点意料之外的惊喜。

在男单赛场上,阮天明充满能量的表现让人们产生了时光倒流的错觉,他在比赛中全面压制了穆斯托法。印度尼西亚人轮番使出的切球、进攻以及在网前娴熟的短球都没能让他拿到一场胜利,当比分来到21-15 21-15时,他将来自越南的对手送进了第五个比赛日的男单半决赛中。35岁的阮天明半决赛的对手是中华台北人许仁豪,后者淘汰了中国的黄宇翔(21-15 6-21 21-16)。

“很高兴,我打得很好。我已经很长时间没在新加坡比赛了,但是我打得很好。”沉浸在快乐中的阮天明说,他还表示在这场比赛中自己并没有什么特别的战术。

当被问及接下来这场超级500赛的半决赛,这位前顶尖球员说起自己的前景时显得相当放松,他认为一切都与他对当今生活的看法相符。

“明天我也不知道会发生什么。我以前赢过他,但是现在我年纪更大了。35岁的我不可能有大量的训练,我只是享受生活,一直没有离开羽毛球是因为我热爱这项运动。在这站比赛中我感觉身体状态非常好,我希望明天能赢。”

另一场男单半决赛的一方同样来自中华台北——头号种子周天成,他的对手是中国的乔斌。周天成在比赛伊始抵挡住了来自另一名老将韩国人李炫一的挑战(21-18 21-6),而乔斌则以21-14 21-18赢得了与马来西亚人张维峰的交手。

德国人又拿到了一场胜利,赫特里克和卡拉·尼尔特(封面人物)在女双四分之一决赛中战胜了吴芷柔/袁倩滢。德国组合在第二局浪费了17-12的大好形势后重新振作,最后直落两局击败了对手(21-15 23-21)。前一天,她们的德国队队友输掉了所有第二轮比赛,而这场女双四分之一决赛的胜利让笑容重新爬上了队友的脸庞。

“在经历了昨天的情形之后,赢球的感觉很好。我们很高兴能在这个级别的比赛中打进半决赛,在取得了17-12的领先后,虽然比分一度被追平,但我们知道自己能战胜她们。教练让我们保持平静,然后我们就赢了,我们会继续加油。”赫特里克笑着说。

在半决赛中,德国人将迎战日本组合松山奈未/志田千阳,此外,头号种子基蒂塔拉库/拉温达将对阵另一对日本组合樱本绚子/高畑祐纪子。泰国人在四分之一决赛中阻止了中国组合汤金华/于小含前进的脚步,这场比赛的比分为21-19 26-24,中国组合在第二局曾拿到过四个局点,拉温达在关键时刻用犀利的杀球锁定胜局。

男双项目的冠军将在中国和印尼之间产生。男双半决赛将上演两场国家德比,经验丰富的阿山/亨德拉在昨天的比赛中淘汰了年轻的泰国组合提恩/南达什(21-19 21-19)。这场胜利保证了周日的决赛必将出现印尼人的身影,这对印尼老将半决赛的对手是同胞普拉塔玛/萨普特罗,后者在早些时候由于对手退赛率先晋级。

另一场半决赛的对阵双方是两对中国的潜力组合欧烜屹/任翔宇和韩呈恺/周昊东,两对选手将争夺一个决赛名额。

“我们的世界排名比他们高,所以我们会更有信心赢。”韩呈恺在谈到即将进行的半决赛时表示。

“但是,我们互相非常熟悉对方的比赛风格,明天的比赛会非常激烈,很难说谁会赢。谁能赢取决于谁能更好地适应场地。”

印尼人还确保了一个混双决赛出线权,阿玛德/纳西尔将在半决赛中接受同胞阿克巴/奥克塔维娜的挑战。头号种子、世界第一组合在昨天的比赛中横扫了中国香港的李晋熙/周凯华(21-16 21-15)。此后不久,阿克巴/奥克塔维娜用时25分钟阻击了中华台北的廖敏俊/陈晓欢(21-10 21-13)。取胜之后的印尼年轻组合首次闯进了世界巡回赛的半决赛,同时获得了对阵自己偶像的机会!

“我们为能打进决赛感到骄傲,这是我们一起参加的第二站赛事。在比赛中,我们俩有点紧张,但是我们一起努力,因为不知道什么时候能再有机会打进半决赛。”阿克巴说。

同时,德差波/沙西丽希望能在新加坡迎来他们在这里的连续第二个决赛,去年他们是这项赛事的亚军。在昨天的比赛中,两人又向决赛迈进了一步,泰国组合现在必须战胜马来西亚的吴顺发/赖洁敏才有机会在周日大展身手。

在女单方面,泰国的金达蓬和中国的高昉洁将为一个决赛名额而战,两人在今年的尤伯杯上曾有过交手。另一场半决赛的对阵双方分别是中国小将韩悦和日本的高桥沙也加。

点击查看赛果

Semis Set! – Day 4: Singapore Open 2018

Semis Set! – Day 4: Singapore Open 2018

A vintage performance by a Men’s Singles veteran; a first Tour semi-final for a fledgling Mixed Doubles pair and a sweet redemption in Women’s Doubles highlighted this afternoon’s quarter-finals at the Singapore Badminton Open 2018.

While the next generation of badminton stars have been making the most of their opportunity to shine in the Lion City, some seasoned campaigners are still in the mix and enjoying some unexpected success.

In Men’s Singles, Nguyen Tien Minh rolled back the years with an energetic display that was way too good for Ihsan Maulana Mustofa. The Indonesian was undone by a combination of slick racket skills, sharp attacks and deft touches around the net. It resulted in a 21-15 21-15 triumph that catapulted his Vietnamese opponent into the men’s solo semi-finals at Singapore Indoor Stadium tomorrow. Nguyen, 35, will battle Hsu Jen Hao of Chinese Taipei for a spot in the final. The latter outlasted China’s Huang Yuxiang (21-15 6-21 21-16).

“I’m happy. I played very well. I haven’t played in Singapore for a long time but, whenever I do, I play quite well,” said an ecstatic Nguyen, who had no special tactics today.

While thrilled to reach the semi-finals of the Super 500 event, the former top player was quite relaxed about the prospects of progressing further – all in keeping with his perspective on life these day.

“Tomorrow. I don’t know. I beat Jen Hao already but now I am older. I’m 35 so I can’t train that hard. I’m just enjoying my life and still playing badminton because I love it. I feel very fit in this tournament and I hope I can win it.”

The other Men’s Singles semi-final features top seed, Chou Tien Chen – also from Chinese Taipei – and Qiao Bin. Chou withstood an early challenge to beat another veteran, Korea’s Lee Hyun Il (21-18 21-6), while Qiao downed Malaysia’s Chong Wei Feng, 21-14 21-18.

There was also satisfying success for Germany’s Isabel Herttrich and Carla Nelte (featured image) who regrouped after blowing a 17-12 lead in the home stretch, to win in straight games. A day after their squad lost all its other second-round fixtures, the Women’s Doubles duo put smiles back on their team-mates’ faces, defeating Ng Tsz Yau/Yuen Sin Ying of Hong Kong, 21-15 23-21.

“After yesterday, this feels very good. We’re happy to be in the semi-finals at this level. We knew we could beat them but it got close in the second game after we were leading 17-12, but our coach kept us calm and we won. We’ll try to keep going,” said a beaming Herttrich.

The Germans now face Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida of Japan in the semi-finals while No.1 seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai tackle another Japanese duo, Ayako Sakuramoto/Yukiko Takahata. The Thai tandem squeezed through 21-19 26-24 versus Tang Jinhua/Yu Xiaohan, thwarting three game points in the second game, Prajongjai unleashing some piercing smashes at key moments.

Fate has decreed the Men’s Doubles title will go to either China or Indonesia. Two same-country semi-finals were confirmed as experienced partners, Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan, overcame their young Thai rivals, Tinn Isriyanet/Kittisak Namdash, 21-19 21-19. That win guaranteed Indonesia a foot in Sunday’s showpiece as Angga Pratama/Rian Agung Saputro had advanced to the semi-finals earlier by walkover.

Two promising Chinese pairs – Ou Xuanyi/Ren Xiangyu and Han Chengkai/Zhou Haodong – will duel for the other place in Sunday’s finale.

“Our world ranking is higher than theirs so I think we would be more confident of winning,” assessed Han of the upcoming semi-final.

“However, since we’re very familiar with each other’s playing styles, tomorrow’s match will definitely be fierce so the result could be unpredictable. Whoever wins or loses will depend on how well we can adapt to the court conditions.”

Indonesia is also assured of a Mixed Doubles finalist as Tontow Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir oppose their younger compatriots, Akbar Bintang Cahyono and Winny Oktavina Kandow. The top seeds and world No.1 stars swept past Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah (21-16 21-15). Shortly thereafter, Cahyono/Kandow, took just 25 minutes to dismiss Chinese Taipei’s Liao Min Chun/Chen Hsiao Huan (21-10 21-13). The reward for that impressive rout was the young Indonesians’ first appearance in a Tour semi-final – and against their idols!

“We’re very proud to be in the semi-finals. This is just our second tournament together. We were nervous but we fought hard because we don’t know when we will have the chance to reach a semi-finals again,” said Cahyono.

Meanwhile, Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai are eyeing their second successive final in Singapore, having been runners-up last year. Having gone the distance again today, the Thai tandem must get past Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai of Malaysia in order to play on Sunday.

In Women’s Singles, Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand and Gao Fangjie (China) are set to reprise their Uber Cup showdown while the other semi-final pits young Chinese, Han Yue, versus Sayaka Takahashi of Japan.

Though other fancied contenders have fallen, second-seeded Jindapol has navigated the windy on-court conditions to reach the semi-finals. Today she overcame a stuttering start versus Chen Su Yu to advance, 25-23 21-16; saving three game points in the opener. Noting that she won because she played with “a lot of heart”, the 27-year-old vowed to “bring my best” against Gao – who won an all-China battle against Cai Yanyan – for a crack at the final.

Han, last year’s World Junior silver medallist, will be confident for her semi-final, having stormed past Indonesia’s Yulia Yosephin Susanto in the decider. From a 7-14 deficit, Han won 14 straight points to snatch an incredible triumph.

“It’s hard to reach the quarter-finals and further of big events so I wanted to give my all. I’m the underdog against higher-ranked and more skilful players. I’m just trying to challenge them,” said the young Chinese.

Takahashi, meanwhile, reached the semi-finals thanks to a 12-21 21-13 21-12 comeback against her team-mate, Minatsu Mitani, and will be seeking her third title this season.

Click here  for results

SHUTTLEWORLD 22 Now Available

SHUTTLEWORLD 22 Now Available

The 22nd edition of SHUTTLE WORLD is now available for download on the BWF website  (linked here).

Articles in this edition include:

  • Picturing Badminton – photo competition in Thailand.
  • Referees go Pro – introduction of semi-professional officials
  • Editorial – Message from the President.
  • AGITOS Foundation – Bright Legacy for African Para badminton.
  • Spotlight on Momota and Tai Tzu Ying – preview – TOTAL BWF World Championships 2018.
  • ‘Uber’ Achievers End Drought – review of the TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2018.
  • Thumbs-Up for Fixed Service Height – outcomes of the BWF AGM in May.
  • A Racket about Sports Science – Racket Sports conference in Bangkok.
  • BWF and Royal Selangor in Trophy Partnership – partnership with Royal Selangor.
  • MOU with Peace and Sport – Bangkok April 2018.

 

We hope that you enjoy reading this edition.

Please contact Gayle Alleyne, Communications Manager if you have any comments or questions about SHUTTLE WORLD   – g.alleyne@bwfbadminton.org

BWF Selects Proud Paralympian Leaders

BWF Selects Proud Paralympian Leaders

France’s Richard Perot, Guatemala’s Raul Anguiano and England’s Rachel Choong (featured image) have been selected as BWF’s Proud Paralympian Leaders who will inspire and educate athletes on and off the field of play.

The three were selected by BWF and AGITOS Foundation, the development agency of the International Paralympic Committee, from among 13 applicants of eight countries.

Proud Paralympians are para athletes who aspire to compete at the Paralympic Games. The three selected Proud Paralympian Leaders will receive training from 5 to 10 August 2018 in Barcelona. They will then deliver workshops to badminton and non-badminton athletes in 2019 and 2020.

The leader training will involve a course with topics dealing with the Paralympic movement, athlete health and well-being; the pursuit of dual careers; ethics; human rights and working with the media.

欧洲混双球员纷纷陷落 —— 2018新加坡公开赛第三日

欧洲混双球员纷纷陷落 —— 2018新加坡公开赛第三日

在2018新加坡公开赛第三个比赛日的下午,被前辈们的表现所激励的两对印度尼西亚年轻组合在混双比赛中分别战胜了一对最好的德国组合,两对英格兰组合也在此后的比赛中被淘汰出局。

在德国-印尼之战中,两场比赛的进程十分相似,经验丰富的欧洲组合率先占据了优势,他们的对手在随后的比赛中勇敢的反击,将比赛成功拖进决胜局并赢得了胜利,他们的表现让教练维达· 玛丽萨十分高兴。

其中一场精彩的反击战的胜者是里诺·里洼迪和门塔里 (封面人物; 右),他们以13-21 21-14 21-15战胜了拉姆斯富斯/赫特里克。这场胜利让印尼组合在新加坡室内球场预订了一张汇丰BWF世界巡回赛500赛的八强席位。

本赛季开始参加高级别巡回赛后,现任世青赛冠军,两位均为19岁的小将展现出的冷静和坚决让他们成功将5号种子拉下马,后者此前曾希望能在比赛中走得更加深入。

“能打进八强我们非常兴奋,第一局,我们需要时间去调整,去适应场地状况。第二局,我们俩扭转了局势,赫特里克是进攻的目标。”里洼迪说。

赛后,赫特里克觉得很遗憾,她和拉姆斯富斯浪费了开局的大好形势。

“我不知道后来发生了什么,这让人很失望,我们期待走得更远,想要得到更多。抽签形势还不错,我们原本觉得这场比赛能赢的。”赫特里克后悔地说。他的搭档补充说,里洼迪在中场打得非常好,打出了很多不错的平击球。

然而印尼人对德国球员发起的进攻并未就此停止,他们的另一对组合此后继续给来自德国的球员们制造麻烦。这一次是状态正盛的阿克巴/温妮·奥克塔维娜(封面人物;左)。这对印尼组合挺过了令他们紧张的时刻击败了塞德尔/琳达·埃弗勒,比赛共用时54分钟,比分为17-21 21-17 24-22。

在第一个赛点上被判发球违例后,阿克巴和搭档打得十分顽强,随后抢走了6号种子的两个赛点,并在比赛的最后尝到了胜利的滋味。

“我们是以挑战者的身份出战这场比赛的,但是我们相信自己可以战胜他们,我们很高兴。”19岁的温妮·奥克塔维娜说。

两对组合赛后都表示自己被奥运冠军、世锦赛冠军阿玛德/纳西尔所影响,头号种子早些时候也晋级了八强,他们的成绩不仅赋予两对小将组合比赛的动力,同时提供了无价的见解。

“他们的表现让人振奋,同时还给了我们一些如何针对特定对手和比赛风格做准备的建议。”22岁的阿克巴表示。

英格兰的混双球员们也遭遇了不测,输掉了两场精彩且艰难的战斗。埃利斯/史密斯不敌廖敏俊/陈晓欢(23-21 27-25)。这场比赛进行得非常胶着,最后的结果几乎是由几个关键分决定的。中华台北组合首局挽救两个局点后取胜,第二局末尾双方依然咬得很紧,多次出现快速的攻防,特别是埃利斯和廖敏俊,两人在网前把对方死死盯住。

在此后的比赛中,同样的命运又在阿德考克夫妇身上上演,两人不敌德差波/沙西丽。后者一度有三次机会以两局结束比赛,但是英格兰组合把比赛拖进了决胜局。在第三局的竞争中,两对组合比分继续攀升,胜利的天平一度倒向了4号种子,他们以14-10领先对手。此后泰国人开始了反击,并成功将比分扳成了19平。关键时刻沙西丽适时的来到的网前拿到了第四个赛点,随后的一分她用一个低平球发向克里斯·阿德考克,英格兰人最后因为杀球出界将胜利拱手相让,比赛用时75分钟,比分为21-18 25-27 21-19。

“第二局末尾我们很紧张,不专注,对自己的发球也没有什么信心。”沙西丽表示,她认为自己只发挥出了正常水平的80%。

欧洲球员经历了痛苦的一天,只有德国的女双组合赫特里克/卡拉·尼尔特晋级了八强。其他遭遇败仗的欧洲球员还有比阿特丽斯(西班牙,女单)、彼得·布里格斯和汤姆·沃芬顿(英格兰,男双)以及布里奇/摩尔(英格兰,女双)。

同时,韩国老将李炫一和越南的阮天明晋级了男单八强,两人战胜了各自的年轻对手。但是,2号种子伍家朗不敌发挥稳定的黄宇翔(21-15 21-23 21-17),他的中国队队友乔斌也一同晋级了八强。其他顺利晋级的还有头号种子周天成和他的中华台北队队友许仁豪;穆斯托法(印尼);还有马来西亚的张维峰。

女单项目的大新闻发生在李文珊身上,在连续征战了四周后,疲态在与三谷美菜津的比赛中尽显。前世界前十使出了标识性的防守能力,以两个21-14战胜了加拿大人。

“我的移动和发球不错,我有些伤病,希望能保持状态,回到顶尖行列。”26岁的日本人表示,她的右膝被紧紧裹住。

下一轮她将迎战同胞高桥沙也加,两人将争夺一个四强席位。中国已经保证了一个四强名额,蔡炎炎和高昉洁在今天的比赛中将隔网相对。她们的队友韩悦将面对尤利娅·苏珊托,2号种子泰国的金达蓬的对手是中华台北人陈肃渝。

女双四分之一决赛中,头号种子的表现将十分引人注目,基蒂塔拉库/拉温达(泰国)与中国的汤金华/于小含狭路相逢,此外两场八强战都有一对日本组合出战。

男双四分之一决赛将有两场印尼与泰国的交锋,同时中国(韩呈恺/周昊东)将遭遇中华台北(柏礼维/杨明哲)的挑战,还有比赛则在欧烜屹/任翔宇(中国)和拉蒂夫/努尔·阿尤布(马来西亚)之间展开。

点击查看赛果

Europe’s ‘Mixed Troubles’– Day 3: Singapore Open 2018

Europe’s ‘Mixed Troubles’– Day 3: Singapore Open 2018

Inspired by their star-studded seniors, two young Indonesian pairs beat the best of Germany in Mixed Doubles this afternoon at the Singapore Badminton Open 2018 – with two England tandems losing later too.

Unfolding along similar storylines, the Germany-Indonesia matches saw the more experienced Europeans seize the ascendancy, only for their youthful rivals to fight back courageously, forcing and winning decisive third games – much to the delight of their coach Vita Marissa.

The rot was started by Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas Mentari (featured image; right) who dismissed Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich, 13-21 21-14 21-15, to book a quarter-final place in the HSBC BWF World Super 500 event at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Having been elevated to the top flight this season, the reigning World Junior champions – both 19 years old – displayed a calmness and resolve beyond their age to topple the No.5 seeds who had fancied making a deep run at this tournament.

“We are excited to reach the quarter-finals. We needed time to adapt to the court situation in the first game. In the second game, we turned things around and we focused on attacking Herttrich,” said Rivaldy.

In her assessment, Herttrich lamented that she and Lamsfuss squandered a good start.

“I don’t know what happened after. It is a big disappointment. We expected more. We wanted more. The draw was not bad and we felt we could win this,” she said ruefully; her partner adding that Rivaldy played well in mid-court with hard, flat shots.

The dust had not settled on this drama before Indonesia caused further headaches for Germany. This time it came in the form of Akbar Bintang Cahyono and Winny Oktavina Kandow (featured image; left). The latter overcame some nervous moments to down Marvin Emil Seidel and Linda Efler – 17-21 21-17 24-22 in 54 minutes.

Having been called for a service fault on their first match point, Cahyono then fought doggedly with his partner to save two match points for the No.6 seeds; the Indonesians grabbing victory the second time around.

“We were the underdogs but we believed that we could beat them and we are very happy,” declared 19-year-old Kandow.

Both pairs gratefully acknowledged the influence of Olympic and World champions, Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir – the top seeds who had earlier cruised to the quarter-finals – not only for motivating them but also for providing priceless insights.

“They are inspiring and they give us advice on how to prepare for specific opponents and their styles of play,” noted Cahyono, aged 22.

England also fared badly in Mixed Doubles, losing two exciting and tough battles. Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith went down to Liao Min Chun/Chen Hsiao Huan in tight games (23-21 27-25) which could have gone either way. The Chinese Taipei winners saved two game points in the opener and held off the No.3 seeds in a nail-biting finish which saw some fast-paced exchanges, especially between Ellis and Liao who stared each other down at net.

Later in the evening, fate was again not kind to England as Chris and Gabby Adcock fell short versus the resurgent Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai. The latter had three chances to win in straight games but, to their credit, the Adcocks hung in and forced a decider. Another see-saw struggle ensued and, just when it looked like fortunes were swinging the No.4 seeds’ way at 14-10 up, their Thai rivals struck back and stayed within a point of the Commonwealth champions until 19-19. It was then Taerattanachai rose to the occasion, intercepting the shuttle at net to earn a fourth match point. She then flick-served to Chris Adcock who soared backwards to snap a left-handed smash which flew wide; victory to Thailand, 21-18 25-27 21-19, in 75 minutes!

“We were nervous at the end of the second game. We couldn’t focus and we were not confident with our service,” said Taerattanachai, estimating they are 80 per cent back to their normal standard.

From a European perspective, it was a horrible day at the office with only Germany’s Women’s Doubles contenders, Herttrich and Carla Nelte, reaching the quarter-finals. Among the other casualties were Beatriz Corrales (Spain; Women’s Singles); Peter Briggs and Tom Wolfenden (England; Men’s Doubles) and Chloe Birch/Jenny Moore (England; Women’s Doubles).

Meanwhile, veterans Lee Hyun Il of Korea and Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh advanced to the Men’s Singles quarter-finals with wins over younger opponents. However, No.2 seed Ng Ka Long lost to a steady Huang Yuxiang (21-15 21-23 21-17) who has his Chinese team-mate, Qiao Bin, for company in the last eight. Others progressing were top seed Chou Tien Chen and his Chinese Taipei countryman, Hsu Jen Hao; Ihsan Maulana Mustofa (Indonesia); and Malaysia’s Chong Wei Feng.

The big news in Women’s Singles was the demise of Michelle Li whose four weeks on the road showed in a tired effort versus Minatsu Mitani. The former top-ten player showcased her trademark resilience in ousting the Canadian, 21-14 21-14.

“My movement and my serve were good. I have been injured but I hope to keep playing well now and to get back to the highest level of competition,” said the 26-year-old Japanese; her right knee heavily strapped.

She faces her compatriot, Sayaka Takahashi, for a semi-final berth while China is also assured of a semi-finalist, with Cai Yanyan and Gao Fangjie, battling each other tomorrow. Their team-mate, Han Yue, clashes with Yulia Yosephin Susanto, and No.2 seed, Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand, takes on Chinese Taipei’s Chen Su Yu.

The Women’s Doubles quarter-finals will feature top seeds, Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai (Thailand), against China’s Tang Jinhua/Yu Xiaohan, while another pair from either country as well as two Japanese partnerships are in the mix to determine the other semi-finalists.

There will be two Indonesia-Thailand clashes in the Men’s Doubles quarter-finals while China are up against rivals from Chinese Taipei and Malaysia in the other two fixtures.

Click here for results

卫冕冠军首轮出局 —— 2018新加坡公开赛第二日

卫冕冠军首轮出局 —— 2018新加坡公开赛第二日

他谈到了自己的那番话,但是这一天,赛·帕尼特未能在狮城的男单卫冕之路继续走下去。

此前他已经宣布将会顽强抵抗那些想要阻碍他卫冕的人,然而这位卫冕冠军在2018新加坡公开赛首轮比赛以令人震惊的方式出局。

而更令人震惊的是,他输给了一个比自己排名低很多的选手,而在赛前是没有人预料到六号种子会输球的。

然而,于五十岚以16-21 21-16 21-18结束了这场71分钟的鏖战,而帕尼特在离开球馆时非常沮丧,不过处于痛苦中的他还是解释了失败的原因。

“我非常失望,我认为自己会赢得这场胜利,但信心现在受挫。在压力下我开始丢分,然后比分朝着预期的相反方向发展,这个感觉很糟糕,”这位卫冕冠军在决胜局曾经先后9-4和11-8领先。

与此同时,来自日本的23岁胜利者将会在第二轮对阵中国人乔斌,后者也同样击败了一位印度人,他以21-14 21-19在新加坡市内体育馆淘汰了加卢西达。

不过对于头号种子周天成和二号种子伍家朗来说,一切都很顺利。中华台北选手始终掌控着同印度尼西亚老将索尼的比赛,后者曾经在2016年夺得过该赛事冠军,周天成最终以21-13 21-13击败对手。伍家朗则遇到英格兰选手托比·潘迪的考验,但是中国香港选手还是以17-21 21-14 21-14反败为胜。

然而命运对于伍家朗的队友、本次赛事三号种子的黄永棋来说却是截然不同,他以14-21 16-21不敌马来西亚的刘国伦。

老将杜德俊同坦农萨克上演了一场奇特战斗,前者以大比分主宰了第一局和第三局,而后者主宰了第二局比赛。最终还是越南老将杜德俊以21-9 14-21 21-9获胜。经验丰富的李铉一也经受住了李梓嘉在首局的凶猛表现,并最终逆转马来西亚人,三局比分是21-23 21-13 21-9。

女单比赛,三号种子美国的张蓓雯以21-15 11-21 16-21不敌中国年轻小将蔡焱焱。四号种子李文珊陷入同印度尼西亚的莉昂丽·亚历山德拉·迈纳基的苦战,不过最终加拿大人依然以19-21 22-20 21-17晋级。

“她几乎能把所有的球都打回来,这让我感到压力很大,特别是在这个风速的影响下,而且开局阶段我也有些疲惫,但是现场的观众帮助了我,”李文珊说道。之后中国的高昉洁和泰国人金达蓬、布桑楠同样晋级。

男双头号种子廖敏竣/苏敬恒爆出冷门,他们以19-21 21-16 17-21不敌中国香港的李晋熙/柯展聪,尽管此前在印度尼西亚,他们展现了巨人杀手本色一路杀入半决赛,但是这一次,中华台北组合并没能抵挡住对手的进攻,虽然他们一度将比赛拖入决胜局。

同样另一对中国香港组合也收获了成功,钟翰林/谭进希击败四号种子拉姆斯富斯/马文·赛德尔,比分是9-21 21-17 22-20。同样英格兰组合本·莱恩/肖恩·文迪则以19-21 21-17 21-19淘汰七号种子阿琼/拉马钱德兰·斯洛。

女双二号种子印尼的德拉·哈里斯/普拉蒂普塔则被杰斯·皮尤/劳伦·史密斯淘汰,两局比分是21-17 21-17,八号种子蓬纳帕/斯齐·雷迪则无法继续走下去,他们被中国香港组合吴芷柔/袁倩滢击败,比分是18-21 21-13 21-14。

混双赛场上则继续上演首轮较量,比赛当天过生日的阿玛德和搭档纳西尔顺利晋级,头号种子以21-15 21-4战胜中国组合欧宣仪/曹彤威。

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Out ‘Yu’ Go! – Day 2: Singapore Open 2018

Out ‘Yu’ Go! – Day 2: Singapore Open 2018

He talked the talk but today Sai Praneeth failed to take the first step in walking the walk to defend his Men’s Singles title in the Lion City.

Having declared he was intent on putting up stout resistance against those seeking to relieve him of the crown he had worn since last season, the title-holder was shockingly bundled out of the Singapore Badminton Open 2018 in the opening round.

The even bigger surprise was that his defeat came at the hands of a much lower-ranked player to whom the No.6 seed would not have been expected to lose.

However, it was Yu Igarashi (featured image) who celebrated at the end of their 71-minute encounter, prevailing 16-21 21-16 21-18 while Praneeth cut a dejected figure as he left the arena and was at pains to explain his demise.

“I am very disappointed. I thought I would’ve won this match but my confidence is low. I was under pressure and started losing points and the points started going the other way so it felt really bad for me,” said the former champion who had promising leads of 9-4 and 11-8 in the decider.

Meanwhile, his 23-year-old Japanese conqueror progressed to a second-round clash with China’s Qiao Bin who also wreaked havoc on the Indian camp, beating R.M.V, Gurusaidutt (21-14 21-19) at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

It was smooth sailing, however, for top seed Chou Tien Chen and No.2 Men’s Singles seed, Ng Ka Long (Hong Kong). The Chinese Taipei star was pleased with how he controlled his match en route to ousting 2016 winner Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia (21-13 21-13). Ng had a tougher test against England’s Toby Penty but won 17-21 21-14 21-14. Fate was not as kind to Ng’s team-mate and No.3 seed, Wong Wing Ki. He fell 21-14 21-16 to Malaysia’s Liew Daren.

Veteran Nguyen Tien Minh came through an odd battle with Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, dominating the first and third games while dropping the second. The Vietnamese won 21-9 14-21 21-9. Crafty Korean Lee Hyun Il also weathered the early firepower of Lee Zii Jia, before comfortably downing the Malaysian, 21-23 21-13 21-9.

In Women’s Singles, No.3 seed Beiwen Zhang (USA) lost to young Chinese Cai Yanyan –15-21 21-11 21-16 – while No.4 seed, Michelle Li, had her hands full with Indonesia’s Lyanny Alessandra Mainaky. The Canadian survived 19-21 22-20 21-17.

“She was getting all the shuttles back and I felt pressure, especially playing with the wind. I was also feeling a little tired at the start but the crowd helped me,” said Li who later saw China’s Gao Fangjie and Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol and Busanan Ongbamrungphan also advance.

Men’s Doubles top seeds, Liao Min Chun/Su Ching Heng, were jolted by a 21-19 16-21 21-17 loss to Lee Chun Hei/Or Chin Chung of Hong Kong. Two weeks after their giant-killing run to the semi-finals in Indonesia, the Chinese Taipei duo were unable to come to grips with their opponents’ attack despite fighting back to force a decider.

There was success for another Hong Kong pair, Yonny Chung/Tam Chun Hei, who beat No.4 seeds, Mark Lamsfuss/Marvin Emil Seidel, of Germany (9-21 21-17 22-20) while England’s Ben Lane/Sean Vendy ousted No.7 seeds, Arjun M.R./Ramchandran Shlok (19-21 21-17 21-19).

Women’s Doubles No.2 seeds, Della Destiara Haris and Rizki Amelia Pradipta of Indonesia were surprised by Jessica Pugh/Lauren Smith. The English duo won 21-17 21-17. The No.8 seeds, Ashwini Ponnappa/N. Sikki Reddy, were also on the losing end, being defeated by Hong Kong’s Ng Tsz Yau/Yuen Sin Ying (18-21 21-13 21-14).

The Mixed Doubles first round, which continued from yesterday, saw a comfortable win for birthday boy Tontowi Ahmad and his partner, Liliyana Natsir. The Indonesian top seeds breezed past Ou Xuanyi/Cao Tong Wei of China, 21-15 21-4.

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