The young guns of Men’s Singles turned the tables on some of their senior peers in the first round of the Adidas China Masters today.
Korea’s Lee Dong Keun (BWF home page) upset third seed and veteran Thai, Boonsak Ponsana, 21-11 21-19. After winning the first game easily, Lee held off a determined charge by Ponsana in the second. The Thai edged close to him but Lee kept his lead after the mid-game interval. Lee’s compatriot and qualifier, Son Wan Ho, also had a great start, scalping eighth seed Takuma Ueda (Japan) 21-17 21-18 (both; centre below).
Another shocker was the defeat of Singapore Open Superseries champion and fourth seed, Tommy Sugiarto, at the hands of World Junior champion Kento Momota of Japan, 21-17 21-14. Momota led throughout the first game and recovered from a three-point deficit in the second to clinch victory.
Emerging Chinese prospect Zhou Wenlong sent No. 26 Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka (Indonesia) packing with a three-game win. Qualifier Zhou showed great composure to wrest the match from the more seasoned Rumbaka, coming from 17-19 down to snatch the opening game. Rumbaka won a close second game but Zhou closed out the contest from 8-all in the third as he won 13 of the next 15 points, triumphing 21-19 19-21 21-10.
By contrast, experienced players Jan O Jorgensen (Denmark, 6), Kenichi Tago (Japan, 5) and Sho Sasaki (Japan) were able to quell their young Chinese opponents Tian Houwei, Gao Tianyu and Xue Song respectively.
A spate of walkovers left the event without some of its biggest names. Those who pulled out included three defending champions – Chen Long (Men’s Singles), Wang Yihan (Women’s Singles) and Xu Chen/Ma Jin (Mixed Doubles) – and four-time World champions Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng (Men’s Doubles). There were eleven walkovers today.
There were no major surprises in Women’s Singles. Apart from Wang Yihan and fifth seed Wang Shixian (both China) conceding walkovers, the other seeds progressed. Top seed Li Xuerui needed just 34 minutes to dismiss Belaetrix Manuputi (Indonesia) 21-18 21-8 and will next face compatriot Sun Yu. Sung Ji Hyun (Korea, 4), Minatsu Mitani (Japan, 7) and Bae Yeon Ju (Korea, 8) made the second round without dropping a game.
* In Men’s Doubles, sixth seeds Shin Baek Choel/Yoo Yeon Seong (Korea), were shown the door by Chinese pair Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen. The Chinese lost the first game tamely but fought back in style, winning six of the last seven points in the second game to force a decider. In the third game they kept their nerve, holding off the Koreans to advance 11-21 21-16 21-19 in 55 minutes.
* Yoo Yeon Seong made up for his loss in Men’s Doubles by winning his Mixed Doubles match with Eom Hye Won. Yoo and Eom (Korea) won a thriller over compatriots Lee Yong Dae/Shin Seung Chan 21-18 20-22 21-14. They take on another Korean pair, fifth seeds Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na, in the second round.
* Women’s Doubles eighth seeds Reika Kakiiwa/Miyuki Maeda bit the dust against Ou Dongni/Tang Yuanting (China; right) 21-14 17-21 21-8. They were the only seeded casualties in that category.
Text by Dev Sukumar | Edwin Leung