Editor Image Courtesy:
17 Sep, 2019
To state that it was quite an exciting opening day at the Victor China Open 2019 in Changzhou, China would be quite an understatement. The first day of the main draw action was a thrill a minute ride with some exciting matchups, plenty of upsets and some fantastic badminton action all around.
Carolina Marin playing in her second tournament after coming back from injury and still searching for her first win since January, was up against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan. The number four seed has had a decent year so far and yet against Marin, it was always going to be a tough opening encounter.
Okuhara made a bright start opening up a 9-5 lead in the first game. But Carolina wasn’t going handover the game on a platter as she wrested back the initiative with four points on the bounce and then taking the lead at the halfway mark in the first game. Marin continued her dominance in the second half of the game and easily took the game and the advantage.
The second game was a more tightly contested affair with both players staying within touching distance in the opening exchanges. Marin then opened up a healthy advantage with a four-point lead, which Okuhara managed to erase and lead at the halfway mark in the second game. Tied at 17-17, the game was for anyone’s taking, but Carolina found the resolve to put together a string of 4 points to take the game and the match 21-16 21-18.
Marin would be especially pleased with the 46-minutes she spent on court, with the first victory following the horrific injury and of course its always that much sweeter when you beat an opponent of the calibre of Okuhara.
Also reaching the second round of the women’s singles were Ratchanok Intanon who overcame stiff resistance from Line Kjaersfeldt. Beiwen Zhang, Sayaka Takahashi also prevailed on day one.
In the men’s singles, Viktor Axelsen & Jonathan Christie were the biggest casualties of the day. Viktor lost to Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan in three games 10-21 21-14 21-16. While, the Indonesian star lost to compatriot Shesar Hiren Rhustavito, 23-21 18-21 21-10 in a thrilling three-game encounter.
Another marquee clash of the day was the encounter between Kento Momota and Lin Dan. But the Japanese world number #1, had little difficulty against the former Olympic champion, as he prevailed 21-14 21-14 in straight games. Tommmy Sugiarto made short work of Wong Ki Vincent, while Daren Liew faced stiff resistance from Sitthikom Thammasin.
Satwik Sairaj & Chirag Shetty were in action from the Indian contingent, as they took on the Canadian pairing of Jason Anthony/Nyi Yakura. The Indian pair steamrolled through the opening game, while the second one was a slightly more contested affair. Satwik/Chirag progressed to the second round with a 21-7 21-18 win.
Earlier in the day Satwik paired up with Ashwini Ponnappa to reach the second round of the mixed doubles event. The Indian pair overcame stiff competition from number seven seeds Praveen Jordan/Melati Oktavianti 22-20 17-21 21-17.
In the women’s doubles, the Stoeva sisters from Bulgaria made it to the second round with a 8-21 21-15 21-18 win, while the top seeds Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara also faced a three-game rollercoaster 21-15 22-24 21-17.