Ashwini Ponnappa and Pradyna Gadre scored a sensational upset at the Maybank Malaysia Open today, beating favourites Ma Jin/Tang Jinhua in Women’s Doubles.
The Indian duo – who came together when Ponnappa’s regular partner Jwala Gutta took a break after the London Olympics – shocked the accomplished Chinese pair who won two Superseries titles in 2012 and just last week reached the Korea Open final. Ponnappa/Gadre (BWF home page) held their nerve in the three-game thriller and duly converted their first match point to claim victory, 22-24 21-16 21-19, and qualify for the quarter-finals.
In other action, it was a happy Thursday for Denmark as most of its players won their matches. Leading the charge was Tine Baun (left) in Women’s Singles; Yu Sun (China) could not stop the veteran cruising to a 21-18 21-17 win. Baun now faces Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei), who has a 1-2 record against her. Incidentally, each of their three matches has gone to three games.
Other Danes in winner’s row were Jan O Jorgensen and Hans Kristian Vittinghus (Men’s Singles), Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen; Anders Kristiansen/Julie Houmann (Mixed Doubles) and Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Women’s Doubles). Vittinghus probably expected a tough fight from Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon, who upset seventh seed Wang Zhengming (China) in the first round. After a close opening game, however, Avihingsanon’s challenge wilted as Vittinghus triumphed 23-21 21-15. Jorgensen beat Kashyap Parupalli (India) 21-17 21-14 in 37 minutes.
Japanese players also enjoyed good returns, winning eight of the nine matches in which they competed. There were victories for Minatsu Mitani and Nozomi Okuhara in Women’s Singles; Kenichi Tago and Sho Sasaki (Men’s Singles); Hirokatsu Hashimoto/Noriyasu Hirata and Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa (Men’s Doubles) and Reika Kakiiwa/Miyuki Maeda (right) and Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (Women’s Doubles).
• One of the day’s biggest upsets was the defeat of Korea Open winner Sung Ji Hyun’s by teammate Bae Yeon Ju. Although Bae has beaten her twice before, Sung was one of the favourites for the title here given her recent form. She had an opportunity to take the match into a third game with two game points but Bae saved both in her 21-17 22-20 success.
• Men’s Doubles top seeds and home favourites Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong retired before their contest with compatriots Goh V Shem/Lim Khim Wah. Men’s Singles top seed Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) was also the beneficiary of a retirement, with rival Boonsak Ponsana (Thailand) choosing not to play.
• Mixed Doubles top seeds, Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia (at left, below), scored an impressive 21-19 18-21 21-16 win over Mads Pieler Kolding/Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark and will play their teammates Tan Aik Quan/Lai Pei Jing in the quarter-finals.
Text by Dev Sukumar | BadmintonPhoto