Tuesday, August 11, 2015
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
Porntip Buranaprasertsuk broke a long spell of poor form with an upset of Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the second round of the TOTAL BWF World Championships today.
The Thai (featured image) has beaten Okuhara twice before but has endured a nightmarish run this year. From a high of world No.8 last year, she slipped to No.24, losing in the first round of the last three World Superseries. In her first round here she looked rusty against Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour, but the Thai managed to rediscover her form when it mattered against the indefatigable Japanese.
The match seesawed between the two, with Buranaprasertsuk eventually establishing her superiority early in the third and keeping her lead to take the match 21-12 17-21 21-14. She will run into Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun, a 21-14 21-16 winner over Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin.
“With the conditions here, it will come to whoever controls the shuttle better,” said Sung, who was expecting to meet Okuhara in the third round.
Sung hasn’t been in the best of form lately, and admitted she was under-par.
“I was playing well in the beginning of the season, but as it progressed I felt under more and more pressure.”
Defending champion Carolina Marin (above) struggled against Malaysia’s Tee Jing Yi but came away a 19-21 21-14 21-13 winner. For the most part the top seed appeared ill at ease, committing a slew of errors to go down in the first game against her aggressive opponent.
The errors didn’t stop even when she had comfortable leads in the second and third. Marin attributed it to her rustiness.
“I haven’t played a tournament in a long time. I’m excited to be on court. I was nervous in the beginning today. I found it difficult to control the shuttle due to the drift.”
She dismissed the question of whether being the defending champion was weighing her down.
“I’m not thinking of my title defence at all. My focus is on my game plan. Usually all my first matches are difficult. It wasn’t my best game but I could win. I love playing here and I know many people here want to see me win.”
The top seed will play Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po, who beat Indonesia’s Maria Febe Kusumastuti (16) 18-21 21-13 21-9.
Cuba’s Osleni Guerrero (left) gave a good account of himself in Men’s Singles but unforced errors proved his undoing against Germany’s Marc Zwiebler (21-16 21-13).
“Participating in this tournament is a great experience for me, the focus was to earn points to qualify for the Rio Olympics. I wish I could play these players often, but since they play mostly Superseries, I hardly have any experience against them,” Guerrero said.
In Mixed Doubles, Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock (England; below) powered past Korea’s Shin Baek Choel/Chang Ye Na, 21-17 21-18, while Chinese Taipei’s Liao Min Chun/Chen Hsiao Huan overcame Hong Kong’s Chan Yun Lung/Tse Ying Suet in three games. China’s Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin survived a close match against Japan’s Kenichi Hayakawa/Misaki Matsutomo 21-19 22-20.
In Women’s Doubles, France’s Delphine Lansac/Emilie Lefel booked a second round against Japan’s Reika Kakiiwa/Miyuki Maeda by beating India’s Dhanya Nair/Mohita Sahdev 21-18 21-16. Shendy Puspa Irawati/Vita Marissa gave their home crowd plenty to cheer about as they edged past USA’s Eva Lee/Paula Lynn Obanana 20-22 21-17 21-16.