World champion Ratchanok Intanon met an early end at The Star Australian Badminton Open 2014 today.
The Thai’s topsy-turvy form this year continued as she followed up her runner-up performance at last week’s BCA Indonesia Open with a second-round loss to China’s Han Li. The Women’s Singles encounter lasted just 36 minutes with the emerging Chinese prospect outclassing the second seed (featured image) 21-14 21-19.
In the quarter-finals, Han will take on Japan’s Yui Hashimoto (above), who surprised her higher-ranked team-mate Sayaka Takahashi, 21-13 21-13.
Intanon’s compatriot Nichaon Jindapon also suffered an early exit after her heroics in Indonesia. Jindapon, a semi-finalist at Jakarta, was no match for eighth seed Sindhu PV of India, 21-13 21-7. Sindhu will met Spain’s Carolina Marin, who had a comfortable win over third seed Sung Ji Hyun (Korea), 21-15 21-17. Japanese veteran Eriko Hirose created a ripple of sorts in taking down Sung’s compatriot and fourth seed Bae Yeon Ju in a 77-minute match, 18-21 21-18 21-15.
Veteran Mixed Doubles pair Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam (below) pulled off one of the exciting wins of the day in a match that lasted 72 minutes. The Thai pair held two match points over Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong but the Chinese escaped from the brink and surged to a 14-10 lead in the third game. The vast experience of the Thai pair came to their aid and they held off their opponents in the tense closing stages to emerge victorious, 21-18 20-22 21-19.
In-form German pair Michael Fuchs/Birgit Michels powered past Hong Kong’s Chan Yun Lung/Tse Ying Suet 21-17 21-17 and will run into Korea’s Lee Yong Dae/Shin Seung Chan next.
* Defending Men’s Singles champion Tian Houwei had his hands full against Japan’s Takuma Ueda and needed three games to prevail: 21-10 18-21 21-17. Tian’s quarter-final challenger will be compatriot Wang Zhengming, who too needed three games to outplay Sai Praneeth of India, 21-15 8-21 21-19.
* Women’s Doubles saw a few long-drawn encounters. Olympic champions Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei held off a tough challenge from Korea’s Ko A Ra/Yoo Hae Won, 21-9 19-21 21-18. Second seeds Ayaka Takahashi/Misaki Matsutomo also needed three games to battle past compatriots Kugo Asumi/Yui Miyauchi.