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INDONESIA OPEN Day 2 – Lu/Huang in the hunt for title while Marin out

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There were contrasting fortunes for world #2 shuttlers on Tuesday at the Indonesia Open as Carolina Marin was ousted, while Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong are still on track for a fifth title of the year.

By Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

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After successfully winning four tournaments earlier this year, Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong (photo) are into the second round and looking forward to the Indonesia Open 2017 title.

The second-seeded pair won their ticket for second round of BCA Indonesia Open 2017 after a dramatic 21-15, 21-16, 21-17 win over Bodin Isara (pictured) and Savitree Amitrapai. 

The Thai pair won the first game easily after taking advantage of mistakes by the unprepared Lu and Huang.  The 2017 Asian Champions reversed the situation in the second and it was tense towards the end as the third game was still up for grabs as late as 14-all.  With full focus, the Chinese favourites finally won the game and booked their spot in the round of 16.

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“We made a lot of mistakes in the first game so our opponents won easily.  In the next round we will try to reduce our own mistakes,” Lu Kai said after the match.

“Everybody wants to be a champion.  That’s what we’re here for: to be the champions is our target,” said Huang Yaqiong (pictured).

Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong still have an opportunity to grab their 5th title this year.  Other top pairs such as Denmark’s  Joachim Fischer / Christinna Pedersen were not so lucky.  The Danes were surprisingly outplayed by the unseeded Tse Ying Suet / Tang Chun Man of Hong Kong, a pair that had upset the world #1 Zheng/Chen at the Sudirman Cup.

Responding to this, Lu Kai casually revealed that it does not necessarily make him feel easy: “No one knows who will win and who will lose.  Maybe today they lost and we won, tomorrow could be the opposite.  We will remain vigilant regardless of who our opponent is,” Lu said.

Carolina out!

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The other world #2 on court on Tuesday continued a year in contrast to Lu and Huang. Rio Olympic women’s singles gold medallist Carolina Marin (pictured) was sent packing early after being defeated by junior China’s Chen Xiaoxin.

Marin looked overwhelmed by the Swiss Open champion in the first game and lost 12-21.  She was able to show her class by beating Chen 21-10 in the second game.  Unfortunately, Marin’s displeasure at the end of the third game left her to having wonder until next year what it will be like to be an Indonesian Open champion.

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After grabbing the game point first at 20-18, Marin made many mistakes, allowing Chen to catch back at 20-20.  Feeling frustrated, Marin made more and more errors.  Chen Xiaoxin (pictured bottom) closed the game with a score of 20-22.

The World Champions of 2014 and 2015 – the latter title coming just across town in the Istora Senayan – admitted that she did not perform well today: “I am very disappointed with this result, I couldn’t play my best, and the court conditions made it difficult for me to control my footwork,” said Marin.

Another former World Champion, Ratchanok Intanon also left the tournament on Tuesday after being defeated by Saina Nehwal.  Nehwal (photo) who performed nicely, managed to win 17-21, 21-18, 21-12 in a match that lasted 57 minutes. He Bingjiao was another seeded casualty in the first round.

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INDONESIA OPEN Day 2 – Glimmers of hope for home favourites

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Indonesian shuttlers won just over half their matches as Olympic champions Ahmad/Natsir barely held on.

By Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The 2017 BCA Indonesia Open tournament shows some changes from previous years, with now US $1,000,000 in prize money and a move to the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC).  Although there is a new venue and a different atmosphere, the Indonesia Open still provided the usual surprises for some of the less fortunate top players and home players

Starting off the first round – played for just mixed doubles and women’s singles on Tuesday – Praveen Jordan / Debby Susanto gave a surprise with a loss.  They lost 21-15, 19-21, 11-21 to  Denmark’s Dutch Open champions Mathias Christiansen / Sara Thygesen (pictured) in a match that lasted 59 minutes.

The 2016 All England champions were performing well in the first game with attacking strategy.  Moving on the other side of the court, the unseeded pair from Denmark showed a surge in form while Jordan was continuously under pressure and made a lot of unforced errors.  At the beginning of the third game, the Indonesian duo trailed 4-14 and they finally lost 11-21.

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“Our strategy was just not working on court,” said Debby Susanto.   “Physically and mentally we were ready to play.  In the second game when we win the wind, the shuttlecock is often twisted near the net as well as attracted to the opposing field.”

She said their defeat in the third game started since receiving an early service from the opponent.  “Their serve was tight with good direction, while our returning was a bit rough,” she added.

Surely this is a bad note for Praveen and Debby who were expected to be Indonesia’s best chance to win this tournament.  “We are certainly disappointed with this result, we want to win, but we have to accept the reality that we lost in our home country,” Jordan said.

Determined to give extra hope, Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir successfully secured tickets to the second round.  The 6th seeds managed to beat the new Korean pair, Kim Duk Young / Kim Ha Na (pictured) after the rubber game drama.

The Olympic gold medallist of Rio de Janeiro started the match with a defeat in the first game, 19-21.  Throughout the second and third games, Ahmad / Natsir always played under pressure but despite the pressure, they managed to secure the second game.

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With the third game tied at 18-all, Ahmad’s drive was considered to be in by the line judge while the Korean pair insisted it was out.  Frustrated by the umpire’s refusal to reverse the call, the two Kims lost focus and were forced to admit defeat after dropping the last three points.

With this result, Indonesia still has representatives in the second round of the Indonesia Open 2017 on next Thursday also preserving the chance of Ahmad / Natsir to get their first Indonesia Open title as a pair.

Do you think Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir (pictured) can win their first Indonesia Open title this year?  Feel free to comment below.

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Momota bound for Canada with 3 fellow former top tens

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Former world #2 Kento Momota has been entered in the 2017 Canada Open Grand Prix, which will be his first international tournament since he withdrew from last year’s Malaysia Open.

Photos: Badmintonphoto and Miyuki Komiya

In April 2016, Kento Momota (pictured) withdrew from the Malaysia Open Superseries to return home and face disciplinary action for gambling in illegal casinos.  The decision of the Nippon Badminton Association (NBA) at the time was to suspend Momota indefinitely and the then world #2 was promptly removed from the world ranking lists and denied the right to represent his country at the Rio Olympic Games.

Late last month, Momota played and won a domestic event in Saitama and today his name appeared on the entry list for next month’s Canada Open.  With 0 world ranking points, he was #23 among 30 slated to play the qualification rounds to earn admission to the 64-player main draw in men’s singles.  It will be Momota’s third appearance at Canada’s premier badminton event.  He played there twice as a junior athlete and the two Europeans who beat him in those previous occasions – Henri Hurskainen and Pablo Abian – will also be in attendance this year, as will India’s H. S. Prannoy, the last player Momota faced in international badminton.

Momota is actually one of four former top ten men’s singles players entered in the Grand Prix event in Calgary.  Former world #1 and 2014 champion Lee Hyun Il is on the list, as are Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh and Kashyap Parupalli.

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Lee Hyun Il is not the only 2014 champion from Korea named Lee who is set to return.  All England champion Lee So Hee, who won her first Grand Prix title here three years ago with her former high school team-mate Choi Hye In, is on the list for 2017 with yet another former partner as she and Shin Seung Chan (pictured right) are slated to play together for only the second time since the 2015 World Championships.  For the most part, the strong Korean contingent will consist of the nation’s very capable second string players but in addition to the Lee and Shin, Korea’s top mixed pair Choi/Chae are on the list, as is former mixed doubles world #1 Kim Ha Na, who is set to play with Seo Seung Jae.  Seo and Kim will debut at the Chinese Taipei Open a few weeks earlier, where Seo will also have his first outing with Kim Won Ho in men’s doubles since their one appearance at the Sudirman Cup.

Men’s singles is the only event where the defending champion is not set to return.  Three-time women’s singles champion Michelle Li, as will last year’s runner-up Zhang Beiwen, who was unable to play the final in 2016.  Last year’s doubles champions Manu Attri / B. Sumeeth Reddy, Setyana Mapasa / Gronya Somerville, and Do Tuan Duc / Pham Nhu Thao of Vietnam  will all be there.

Two of Indonesia’s former women’s singles aces are entered in the Canada Open as well.  Bellaetrix Manuputty is set to begin her comeback next week in mixed doubles at the Indonesia Open but in Canada, she is to team up with former Australian Open winner Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella in women’s doubles.  Manuputty had an aborted comeback in late 2015 after she had suffered a painful knee injury at 2015 Sudirman Cup earlier that year.  Former Australian Open women’s singles winner Maria Febe Kusumastuti is in the qualifying draw for women’s doubles with Canada’s Chloe Rowe but she is on the reserve list for women’s singles and mixed doubles.

You can download the complete entry lists for the 2017 Canada Open from the BWF website here

 

 

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