His conqueror was Rajiv Ouseph who notched his first win against a top Chinese rival. The England player was close to upsetting world No. 2 Chen Long of China at the Denmark Open in October, but lost his way despite a lead of 19-16 in the second game, having won the first game. At the Hong Kong Coliseum, however, Ouseph remained tough under pressure against Du, coming from behind in both games to close it out 21-15 21-14.
Chen Long (2) conceded a walkover to first-round opponent Marc Zwiebler (Germany), leaving China’s campaign in Men’s Singles to the young crop of Wang Zhengming, Gao Huan and Chen Yuekun. Only Zhengming remains in the draw as he powered past India’s Kashyap Parupalli, 21-14 21-10. Gao Huan was outgunned by third seed Kenichi Tago (Japan), 8-21 21-17 21-15, while Yuekun trailed Denmark’s Hans Kristian Vittinghus throughout the match, eventually falling 21-19 21-16.
A delighted Vittinghus posted on his Facebook page: “I haven’t performed too well since I made the final of the London Grand Prix and I also really need the ranking points, so this was definitely an important win. I’m happy with the way I played all the way through the match and how I kept my focus on sticking to the game plan rather than focusing on the result. It sounds so simple, but can be so hard sometimes.”
Meanwhile, his compatriot and French Open champion Jan O Jorgensen had his hands full against qualifier Chan Yan Kit (Hong Kong); the Dane survived into the second round. At 20-11 up, Jorgensen had nine match points in the third and Chan saved seven of those before the former shut the door in time: 21-9 20-22 21-18. Among the other impressive performers were qualifier Wei Nan (Hong Kong), who overcame team-mate Wong Wing Ki in three hard-fought games, and India’s Ajay Jayaram (above), a 21-7 21-12 victor over seventh seed Nguyen Tien Minh (Vietnam).
Thailand’s brother and sister, Boonsak (below; left) and Salakjit Ponsana (below; right), suffered contrasting fates on Court 3, with 31-year-old Boonsak advancing to the second round (beating Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Jen Hao, 21-19 21-15), after watching his little sister lose to China’s Wang Yihan, 21-15 21-16.
In Women’s Doubles, No. 9 pair Jang Ye Na/Kim So Young crashed out. The Koreans, titlists at the Korea Open GP Gold earlier this month, lost a thriller to a pair ranked 57 places below them. Wang Rong/Zhang Zhibo (Macau) were down two match points in the decider before scraping through 14-21 21-18 23-21.
Last week’s Victor China Open semi-finalists Duanganong Aroonkesorn/Kunchala Voravichitchaikul were also first-round casualties as they ran into Misato Aratama/Megumi Taruno of Japan. The Thais lost a close first game before being outclassed in the second, 21-18 21-6.
The day couldn’t have been worse for Jang Ye Na, who also lost her Mixed Doubles with Yoo Yeon Seong earlier. German pair Michael Fuchs/Birgit Michels (BWF home page) survived a match point in the second game to edge the Koreans, 16-21 24-22 21-18.
It will be a case of double doubles partners against each other when Chris Adcock and Gabrielle White face English team-mates Andrew Ellis and Lauren Smith in Mixed Doubles tomorrow. Adcock and Ellis (right) are competing in Men’s Doubles while White and Smith – Women’s Doubles partners – were knocked out by Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi.
In the Mixed Doubles, Adcock/White and Ellis/ Smith won nearly identical battles over Singapore pairs Danny Bawa Chrisnanta/Vanessa Neo and Chayut Triyachart/Yao Lei respectively.
* Men’s Doubles second seeds Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa (Japan) were bounced out of the tournament 15-21 21-18 21-17 by unfancied Indonesians Berry Angriawan/Ricky Karanda Suwardi (left). Elsewhere in the draw, an intriguing second-round clash has been set up as All England champions Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan (China, 3) and Denmark Open champions Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (Korea) negotiated their opening assignments without trouble.
* Both the Women’s Singles finalists of the China Open were stretched in their opening matches. Top seed Li Xuerui was a game adrift but finished strongly against Singapore’s Gu Juan, 9-21 21-11 21-7. Her compatriot Wang Shixian (4) emerged 21-13 11-21 21-17 after an hour-long battle versus Thailand’s Nichaon Jindapon. World champion Ratchanok Intanon also advanced 21-16 21-17, at the expense of India’s PV Sindhu. Fifth seed Sung Ji Hyun (Korea) however retired against qualifier Aya Ohori (Japan; below).
* Men’s Singles top seed Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) took the first step towards regaining the title he won in 2009 and 2010, storming past India’s K Srikanth 21-18 21-14. Awaiting him is his compatriot Chong Wei Feng, who was just as authoritative in his defeat of Japan’s Sho Sasaki, 21-18 21-12.