Badminton Life

Opening Day Upsets At England Open

The opening day of the Yonex All England Open Championships which took place at Birminghams National Indoor Arena brought a combination of good and bad for England as some surprising upsets and shocks threatened to derail and overshadow the good work of some of their player's triumphs.

Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms, who are the Olympic Silver medalists, secured a comfortable victory in their attempt to regain the Mixed Doubles tournament that they claimed back in 2005. Their victory over Chris Langridge and Joanne Nicholas was achieved with a 21-10, 21-18 victory, with the first set allowing the dup to comfortably ease ahead of their opponents.Whilst this was a Doubles match-up for Emms that went according to form, she suffered a shock in the Ladies Doubles event where she and partner Donna Kellog were defeated 26-42, 21-10 by Jo Novita and Gresia Polli. Given that Emms and Kelloggs are the current European Champions this result came as quite a surprise for most of the crowd who were watching.

The spectators were getting their monies worth however as there was a lot more thrilling games on the opening day with the Mens Doubles event seeing the defeat of Taipei duo Fang Chieh Min and Yan Chia Tseng by Anthony Clark and David Lindley. The duo were triumphant by a score of 22-20, 19-21, 21-18 with the duo holding their nerve in the third and final set to the delight of the crowd.

This wasn't the end of Clark's feel-good impact of the day as he teamed up with Donna Kellogg, smarting from her earlier defeat, as they defeated the Malyasian duo of Tan Wee Kiong and Woon Khei Wei by 13-21, 21-17 and 21-18. No doubt the heavy defeat in the first set would have had Kellogg's head reeling but the pair showed great strength by battling back to win with a bit to spare at the end.

Another British triumph in the Mixed Doubles came when Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier produced an outstanding performance to beat Indonesias Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa by a score of 21-15, 21-16 which brought the Doubles action to a close on the first day and apart from the upset in the Ladies Doubles, featured many successes for British badminton.

Just like the Doubles events, the Singles were a mixed bag as the English No.1 male Andrew Smith was defeated by a qualifier, Tommy Sugiarito, in a straight sets match by 21-11, 21-19 and English Ladies National champion Elizabeth Cann was trounced by China's Jiang Yanjiao. These defeats came at a bad time for the English players as there would have been vital Olympic qualifying points at stake with the upcoming games in Beijing preying on many players' minds.

Many more upsets occurred as the top seed and twice-title winner Xie Xingfang was defeated 22-20, 21-19 by Hong Kongs Pui Yin Yip and the second seed, and current Olympic champion, Zhang Ning lost out to Hollands Yao Jie. This loss by Xie meant that for the first time in just less than two decades, the defending singles champion lost out in the first round.

With so many big names being knocked out and a multitude of upsets occurring, the first day of the Yonex All England Open Championships left the crowd wanting more and the titles were up for grabs amongst a whole host of candidates.

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