The Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2016 was bereft of two of its biggest stars as Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei fell in the second round today.
The unlikely occurrence of both stars exiting on the same day came to pass with Lin Dan falling to Korea’s Son Wan Ho and Lee Chong Wei following not long after, beaten by Hong Kong’s Wei Nan.
Former India Open champion Son Wan Ho sprang back to life after an extended spell of indifferent form, knocking out Lin to make the quarter-finals.
Son notched only his second victory over the Chinese superstar, keeping his nerve in a tense second game finish to prevail 21-13 22-20.
The Korean will take on No.8 seed Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto, who also emerged on top after a nervy battle against Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk.
Son was his fleet-footed best against the Yonex All England champion; his sharp smashes finding the lines
with regularity. Still, when Lin closed a 16-19 gap in the second to level at 20, it looked like a difficult proposition for the Korean. Son came up with the goods at the right time, uncorking a razor-sharp smash on the line, before Lin erred with a drive.
Wei Nan imposed himself with big smashes that Lee struggled to return. The Hong Kong player smashed uninhibitedly, turning the tables on the Malaysian who is used to dominating the attack. The 21-19 21-19 win gave Wei Nan a quarter-final date against Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen.
Axelsen prevailed in a battle of generations; the Dane was impressed by veteran Sony Dwi Kuncoro’s skills but not enough to lose his focus.
Kuncoro, playing only his second World Superseries event in nine months, stayed close to Axelsen for the most part, only losing his way at the very end. Axelsen came away a 21-18 18-21 21-16 victor and paid his veteran opponent a tribute: “He’s very tricky and it was a hard match. He knows how to control the shuttle under various conditions. Of course he’s got a lot of experience and that helps.”
Second seed Kento Momota had a comfortable victory over Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long (21-16 21-11) and next faces Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, who enjoyed a surprisingly easy 21-12 21-12 result over Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen.
Women’s Doubles sixth seeds Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan were shown the door by Japan’s Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao after a close second game, 21-16 23-21. Another favoured Japanese pair, Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi, set up a clash with No.8 seeds Eefje Muskens/Selena Piek (Netherlands). Matsutomo and Takahashi staved off a late challenge from Bulgaria’s Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva while Muskens and Piek had a similar victory over Korea’s Go Ah Ra/Yoo Hae Won.
Men’s Doubles defending champions Chai Biao/Hong Wei (China) were toppled by young Indonesian pair Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo/Markus Fernaldi Gideon (featured image) in perhaps the closest match of the day, 22-20 19-21 21-18. The Indonesians face Chinese Taipei’s Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin, who decimated India’s Sumeeth Reddy/Manu Attri 21-19 21-12.
Another Indonesian pair – Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi – also progressed, outlasting Japan’s Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda 10-21 21-8 21-18.
Home fans, despite the disappointment of watching Lin and Lee lose, could take heart from the performance of their own players. Both Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu made the quarter-finals at opposite ends of the draw. Nehwal had it easy against Thailand’s Nichaon Jindapol while Sindhu had to struggle to overcome Busanan Ongbumrungpan, also of Thailand, 17-21 21-19 21-16.
Former India Open champion Li Xuerui struggled to beat Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk and will next face Chinese compatriot Wang Shixian, who too needed three games to make the quarter-finals.
Four young Chinese pairs – Liu Yuchen/Tang Jinhua, Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong, Wang Yilyu/Chen Qingchen and Zhang Wen/Jia Yi Fan – entered the Mixed Doubles quarter-finals. Third seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen also made the last eight with a 21-13 21-14 result over Japan’s Keigo Sonoda/Naoko Fukuman, and next take on Indonesia’s Riky Widianto/Puspita Richi Dili.