Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen overcame a perilously sluggish start to withstand a shocking upset in the Mixed Doubles first round of the Yonex Denmark Open 2015 tonight.
The Danish ace pairing trailed Chinese young guns, Wang Yilv and Luo Yu, by a game and 13-10 before pulling themselves together for a morale-boosting 19-21 21-16 21-7 victory in 71 minutes.
A small but extremely vocal and partisan crowd in Odense Sports Park spurred on the No. 5 seeds who looked in danger of bowing out of their home leg of the MetLife BWF World Superseries before the tournament had properly begun. However, as the seasoned partnership has done so many times, they found their rhythm and range just when needed most to thwart the Chinese.
“We were very slow in the first game. We were really struggling. We just couldn’t find our A game or our speed. It was difficult and they (opponents) were making it difficult for us,” acknowledged Pedersen, glad to progress to the second round.
“We played better towards the end of the second game and in the third. We are happy to win though we didn’t play our best. We are looking forward to our next match but we know we need to improve our level or it will be difficult again.”
Having come close to ousting one of the ‘Big Four’ in Mixed Doubles, Wang rued the opportunity which he and his partner squandered but noted it was a learning experience.
“We lost focus and were rushing our shots in the last game,” said the 21-year-old. “We are disappointed because we had our chances. It was still a good performance against one of the best pairs and we will learn from our mistakes.”
In other nightcap action, China’s Mixed Doubles icons – Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei and Xu Chen/Ma Jin – made light work of their respective rivals. The top seeds took just 36 minutes to dispose of Indonesia’s Riky Widianto/Puspita Richi Dili, 21-15 21-19, while the defending champions (Xu/Ma) romped to a comfortable 21-11 21-14 result versus Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah of Hong Kong. Last year’s runners-up and No. 2 seeds, Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia, also had a successful outing against hometown hopefuls, Niclas Nohr/Sara Thygesen (21-15 21-19) as did England’s Chris and Gabrielle Adcock, defeating Sam and Chloe Magee of Ireland (21-14 21-11).
Meanwhile, qualifying rounds dominated the first day’s action, with Danish players taking full advantage of being at home to press their claim for a place in the opening round of the Superseries Premier tournament. No category was that more evident than in Men’s Singles, with seven Danes advancing to the second stage of qualifying. Three of them –Rasmus Fladberg, Emil Holst and Christian Lind Thomsen (featured image) – made it to the main draw. Only Estonia’s Raul Must prevented a Danish sweep of the qualifying spots, with a 21-16 21-12 victory over Rasmus Messerschmidt.
In Women’s Singles, Denmark’s Anna Thea Madsen and Mette Poulsen followed their male team-mates’ example, qualifying for the main draw. Poulsen denied Ireland’s Chloe Magee (21-11 21-20) in the second round. Finland’s Airi Mikkela and Ksenia Polikarpova of Russia also qualified. The latter defeated Chinese Taipei’s Chen Hsiao Huan, 24-22 22-20, in the second round.
Qualifiers in Men’s Doubles were China’s Liu Cheng/Lu Kai; Soren Gravholt/Nikolaj Overgaard of Denmark; France’s Bastian Kersaudy/Gaetan Mittelheisser; and German duo, Mark Lamsfuss/Marvin Emil Seidel who came through a testing 26-28 21-19 21-18 battle in their first round versus Danish pair, Nicklas Mathiasen/Lasse Moelhede. Fortunately for Lamsfuss and Seidel, they were spared a second match and advanced with a walkover. Liu and Lu also staged a fightback against Lin Chia Yu and Wu Hsiao-Lin to grab the last place in the main draw, 26-28 21-19 21-18.
Korea took two Women’s Doubles spots in qualifying, thanks to the reconfigured partnerships of Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan and Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee. Denmark’s Amanda Madsen and Isabella Nielsen also reached the first round as did Linda Efler and Lara Kaepplein of Germany.
Koreans were also to the fore in Mixed Doubles qualifying, bagging three of the four berths. Lee Yong Dae/Lee So Hee; Yoo Yeon Seong/Chang Ye Na and Choi Sol Gyu /Eom Hye Won all progressed to the main draw along with Japan’s Kenta Kazuno and Ayane Kurihara.