The few Singaporean reporters who had gathered in the beautiful press center for day one of the Aviva Singapore Open were wondering who they would focus with local players out in force trying their luck to participate in the main draw . And for the host, it meant that their main hopes, Singaporean stars Ronald Susilo and Kendrick Lee, were not competing this year, due to busy schedules with study.
However, for Singapore, some bad news came with the injury of Vanessa Neo, one of the local rising stars in the mixed doubles. Together with Hendri Saputra, the pair had got the best out of the mixed doubles pair in the qualification draw, Fairuzizuan Abdul Latif and Wong Pei Tty, in the first game (21/19) who were the favourites to qualify.
But after their 21/19 success and trailing 8/11 in the second, the Singaporeans had to retire after Neo sustained an injury. “I sprained my thigh muscle and I had to retire from the whole competition. It’s frustrating because I feel like we could have beaten the Malaysians. It’s really bad luck. But I should only blame myself for not being in top condition before the game” said the soft spoken 21 year old, who was taken off the court in a wheelchair. The Malaysians were later to be ousted by Korea’s Han and Jang. Only Fu Mingtian –the World Junior Doubles Champion – and Zhang Beiwen survived the women’s single qualification, after they beat Vietnam’s Nguyen Le Ngoc and Chang Hsin Yun of Chinese Taipei.
Europe’s bad day.
Denmark, England and Scotland had put their hopes on younger shuttlers involved in the draw. But Vittinghus, Thomsen Lind, nor Casey or Baxter progressed through to the main draw. The Europeans were all beaten by opponents from Asia. If Casey had little chances against China’s Qiu Yanbo, more was expected from the Danish boys. Hans Kristian Vintthingus – said to be one of Denmark’s most promising prospects – bowed out to Thai youngster Saensomboonsuk in three games. Not much more luck for his compatriot Christian Lind Thomsen, who thought he had done the toughest job when he saved two match points and get one on his side against Malaysia’s Tan Chun Seang.
But players from Asia fought back and eventually took it home 16/21 – 21/19 – 23/21, leaving Thomsen quite frustrated with this close loss. Petr Koukal, seeded 4th in the draw, was also very frustrated with his loss, after spending 3 weeks training in Malaysia.
“I felt good and I had high expectations for this tournament. And losing like that, in straight games, without being able to play my own game, makes me really angry” said the Czech Republic shuttler. He was ousted by Japan’s Kazuchi Yamada 21/14 – 21/12. The only ones who kept Europe’s flag flying on day 1 were Slovenian Maja Tvdry and the duo of Hopp/Schoettler who were not in the best position when leading one game and 14/18 in the second game to local Chrisnanta/Triyachart. The Germans scored 6 points in a row to scoop a first game point, then later, were able to force a rubber and finally winning 18/21 - 21/19 – 21/19.
Anup out to forget world champs disappointment
The confrontation between Canada and India saw Pawar and Sridhar easy winners of Dabeka and Wojcikiewicz respectively, in the morning session, but unfortunately for Pawar, the afternoon session was to be fatal. He was ousted by Yamada, while Sridhar was very close to losing to China’s Qiu Yanbo – especially when leading 15/21 and 19/19 in the second game. But the tall Indian fought back and finally booked his ticket for the main draw in one of the highlights of the day.
“ I felt a little bit rusty on the court today, as I had taken a 9 weeks break from International competition. I needed it as I hadn’t taken a break after the Olympics, so, after the India Open, I decided to focus on training and building up my stamina. This time away from competition may explain why I wasn’t too comfortable today on court, especially against this kind of player – I don’t think he played one single clear” said Sridhar.
The Indian hopes to find new motivation after not qualifying for his home World Championships. “I was very disappointed not to qualify for such a big event – I think the first ever World Championships held in India, my home country. But I dropped down the world ranking and there are three compatriots in front of me, so I couldn’t qualify, and I didn’t get the wild card either – it went to Kashyap. It’s sad because I did well last time in the World Champs (he had beaten Taufik Hidayat) and I was looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd. But I still hope to carry on playing for another 5 years at least” said Sridhar.
He will have a good chance at making it to the second round and get important points for the future, when he meets up with another qualifier, Thailand’s Saensombboonsuk. “It’s a good draw as he also is a qualifier and he will be in the same physical condition as me. But playing two matches in one day is still ok. I just hope I will play better tomorrow” Anup added.
Fonte : Site BWF