Badminton: Pi Hongyan early casualty at All-England Open
BIRMINGHAM, England : Pi Hongyan, the Chongqing-born fourth seed from France, became the first major casualty at the All-England Open when she became the victim of a successful revenge bid on the opening day.
Pi was beaten 21-23, 21-10, 21-15 by Juliane Schenk, the world number 11 from Germany - the player whom she had narrowly denied the bronze medal at the world championships in Hyderabad in August.
Schenk always looked the likely winner this time once she got on top in the second game, for was the more mobile player, and her excellent defence worked well in the slow conditions.
The 31-year-old Pi, who had been prevented by a knee injury from training much, was made to work harder and harder for points as Schenk simultaneously extracted errors and denied opportunities for counter-attacks.
Pi looked slower than usual and grew visibly frustrated, annoyed at her inability to work out how to beat an increasingly buoyant opponent, who sank to her knees in joy at the end.
"My tactics weren't as good and I didn't find a solution to beat her. I made too many mistakes and wasn't confident enough," Pi said.
"Maybe my preparation wasn't good enough to combat the way she played today. The injuries did affect me a little but it's not the only reason I lost."
She added: "Juliane kept playing the shuttle right into the middle, but not with any pressure" she said. "That meant I couldn't counter-attack. I was left to force the game and I couldn't. And when I got frustrated I couldn't take the right options."
Two seeds went out in the men's singles - Tien Minh Nguyen, the number seven from Vietnam, and Jan Jorgensen, the number eight from Denmark.
Nguyen was well beaten, 21-10, 21-17 by Kenichi Tago, the young Japanese player who looks set to push his way into the world's top 20.
Jorgensen was beaten just as heavily, 21-16, 21-10, by Chen Long, the brilliant Chinese player who beat Tago in the 2007 world junior final.
Jorgensen was so upset by his performance that he did not appear for a press conference, but later admitted that he was surprised by the emotions in his performance.
"Normally when I am not doing well I get angry and thrash my racket about," he said. "But this time I didn't and that was strange. I just don't know why I was so calm."
There was almost an even bigger upset when Chen Jin, the third-seeded Chinese player who won the 2008 All-England, needed to save a match point to get through his first round match.
Chen survived 21-16, 19-21, 22-20 against Dionysus Hayom Rumbaka, a young Indonesian outside the top 20, but only after Rumbaka opponent missed a chance to make a kill at the net at 20-19, match point up.
Chen knew he had put the shuttle just a couple of inches too high, but Rumbaka snatched at the chance and netted it, with the former champion raising his arms in alarm and relief at the error.
"I've not played for a long time, so it takes a while to get back into the swing," said Chen. "But my opponent played very well.
"I hadn't played him before either, so it felt even more unfamiliar. I think I only survived because I have more experience."
Earlier the top seeds in the men's doubles, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, were beaten in the first round - though it was not quite as big a surprise as it sounds.
The 2007 All-England champions from Malaysia were saddled with one of the worst first round draws in the history of the event, against Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen, the former world champions from Denmark.
They were also unfortunate to find the Danes in scintillating form, their 21-13, 21-11 triumph in cool slow conditions suggesting they may well be good enough to challenge for the title.
Men's singles first round:
Hashim Muhammad Hafiz (MAS) bt Hsieh Yu Hsing (TPE) 21-11, 21-5 Lin Dan (CHN) bt Christian Lind Thomsen (DEN) 21-16, 21-15 Joachim Persson (DEN) bt Henri Hurskainen (SWE) 21-12, 21-18 Chen Jin (CHI) bt Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka (INA) 21-16, 19-21, 22-20 Kenichi Tago (JPN) bt Tien Minh Nguyen (VIE) 21-10, 21-17 Bao Chunlai (CHN) bt Marc Zwiebler (GER) 21-7, 21-7 Sony Dwi Kuncoro (INA) bt Du Pengyu (CHN) 21-19, 21-10 Andrew Smith (ENG) bt Eric Pang (NED) 21-10, 21-11 Simon Santoso (INA) bt Wong Choon Hann (MAS) 17-21, 21-16, 21-12 Peter Gade (DEN) bt Dicky Palyama (NED) 21-17, 21-17 Lee Chong Wei (MAS) bt Chetan Anand (IND) 21-15, 21-16 Chen Long (CHN) bt Jan Jorgensen (DEN) 21-16, 21-10 Taufik Hidayat (INA) bt Hu Yun (HKG) 17-21, 21-11, 21-12
Women's singles first round:
Wang Yihan (Ch) bt Ella Diehl (RUS) 21-19, 21-19 Lu Lan (CHN) bt Yip Pui Yin (HKG) 21-6, 21-12 Tine Rasmussen (DEN) bt Kim Moon Hi (KOR) 21-19, 21-16 Eriko Hirose (JPN) bt Wang Lin (CHN) 10-21, 21-16, 21-18 Wang Xin (CHN) bt Olga Konan (POL) 21-8, 21-9 Ai Goto (JPN) bt Yao Jie (NED) 21-14, 11-21, 21-16 Maria Febe Kusumastuti (INA) bt Wang Shixian (CHN) 21-13, 15-21, 21-16 Shon Wan Ho (KOR) bt Chan Yan Kit (HKG) 21-12, 17-21, 21-18 Yu Hirayama (JPN) bt Nicole Grether (GER) 21-16, 21-13 Juliane Schenk (GER) bt Pi Hongyan (FRA) 21-23, 21-10, 21-15 Zhou Mi (HKG) bt Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) 21-9, 21-18 Jiang Yanjiao (CHN) bt Wong Chew Moo (MAS) 21-18, 21-9 Wang Chen (HKG) bt Adriyanti Firdasari (INA) 22-20, 21-18
Source from Channel News Asia.com
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