After the shocks of previous days, the Chinese juggernaut steadied itself in the second round of the Djarum Indonesia Open Superseries Premier today.
China apart, the hosts also performed creditably, especially in the paired events. Three Indonesian pairs made the quarter-finals of the Women’s Doubles (right: Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth and Rizki Amelia Pradipta) and Mixed Doubles (BWF home page: Puspita Richi Dili), while two are in the last eight of Men’s Doubles. In the latter discipline, Alvent Yulianto Chandra/Markis Kido caused one of the day’s few upsets with a 23-21 21-15 win over third seeds Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Hong (Malaysia).
For the Chinese, with the exception of Men’s Doubles pair Qiu Zihan and Liu Xiaolong, who retired in the first game of their second-round match, all their other big guns powered ahead. Olympic gold medallists Li Xuerui (Women’s Singles); Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei (Women’s Doubles); Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng (Men’s Doubles) and Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei (Mixed Doubles) were comfortable winners. Xu Chen/Ma Jin also advanced in the mixed event.
Defending Women’s Doubles champions, Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli (China), sealed their 25th successive victory after a brief struggle against Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan (Korea), 24-22 21-14. The Chinese duo is unbeaten since the Hong Kong Open final in 2012.
Men’s Singles action saw an emphatic win by Du Pengyu (centre below), who is the highest Chinese seed left in that draw after the exit of compatriot Chen Long. Du, who lost last year’s final to Simon Santoso of Indonesia, outclassed Sourabh Verma of India 21-16 21-6 in just 37 minutes. Du remained on course for a semi-final meeting with top seed Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia), who had little trouble figuring out Sai Praneeth of India, 21-18 21-12, in the night cap.
* Today’s biggest casualty was Men’s Singles fourth seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Indonesia), upstaged by India’s Ajay Jayaram. Kuncoro saved two game points in the first, but once Jayaram clinched that, the Indonesian veteran’s challenge dried up. He fell 22-20 21-12.
* Russians Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov, who dumped Men’s Doubles top seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (Denmark) in the first round, continued their merry run, ousting England’s Chris Langridge/Peter Mills 21-16 10-21 21-15 to qualify for the quarter-finals.
* In Women’s Singles, India’s Saina Nehwal (2), seeking her fourth title here, ran into some trouble against Japanese youngster Sayaka Takahashi, but pulled through 21-13 21-19.
Text by Dev Sukumar | Badmintonphoto