Tai, the Women’s Singles seventh seed, suffered her third straight first-round loss as the Chinese rode her momentum from winning the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold on Sunday. Yao’s attacking play found no reply from the out-of-form Tai who crumbled 21-16 21-19. Yao next faces compatriot Liu Xin who had it easy against fellow qualifier Shruti Mundada of India, 21-12 21-8.
Two of China’s Big Three were tested - but survived. All England champion Wang Shixian (BWF home page) must have been the most relieved of the three as she posted her first success in four matches against India’s PV Sindhu. Wang lost the second set but Sindhu was unable to force a tighter contest in the third as the world No. 3 triumphed 21-15 12-21 21-10. Meanwhile, world No. 2 Wang Yihan also fought off a fierce challenge from Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk, recovering from 15-18 in the second game to win 21-19 22-20.
All the other favoured players, including top seed Li Xuerui (China), India’s Saina Nehwal (8), and Korea’s Bae Yeon Ju (5) and Sung Ji Hyun (6) progressed into the second round.
It was a good day for hosts India in the Men’s Singles. Former top-ten player Kashyap Parupalli struck down sixth seed Wang Zhengming of China for his first win in three encounters, while Malaysia Open GPG runner-up Sourabh Varma staved off big-hitting Russian giant Vladimir Ivanov, also in three games. Fellow Indian and world No. 30, Guru Sai Dutt, outlasted a player ranked five places above him, Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen, 17-21 21-16 21-17, and will next play team-mate Parupalli.
Seventh seed Du Pengyu was taken the distance by the crafty Sai Praneeth (below) of India. Du was adrift early and nearly lost the plot in the closing stages of the decider, but he was able to pocket the last two points in a match that went over an hour: 16-21 21-10 21-19. Fourth seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark was also stretched to three games by local, Anand Pawar, but his compatriot Hans Kristian Vittinghus (above) enjoyed a surprisingly one-sided victory over Japanese youngster, Kento Momota, 21-19 21-14.
* Top seeds in Men’s Doubles, Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa, were in for a surprise, finding themselves a game adrift against India’s Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar. The Japanese however regrouped and cruised in the next two games, 15-21 21-11 21-13. The only seeds to exit in Men’s Doubles were Hoon Thien How/Tan Wee Kiong of Malaysia – the fifth seeds were sent packing, 21-6 21-18, by China’s Kang Jun/Liu Cheng.
* Indonesia’s Anggia Shitta Awanda/Della Destiara Haris (above) staged the upset of the day in Women’s Doubles, with a stunning 21-13 11-21 21-16 rout of fourth seeds Jang Ye Na/Kim So Young. The Koreans stormed level in the second game but Awanda/Haris kept their composure and pocketed seven straight points midway in the third game to effectively seal the contest. Seventh seeds Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth/Rizki Amelia Pradipta of Indonesia were also beaten in three games, by Duanganong Aroonkesorn/Kunchala Voravichitchaikul of Thailand: 14-21 21-16 21-14.
* Malaysia had some good news in the Mixed Doubles as Chan Peng Soon and new partner Lai Pei Jing scored a memorable 21-15 8-21 23-21 outcome over eighth seeds Kenichi Hayakawa/Misaki Matsutomo of Japan. The Malaysians (below), who had to qualify, trailed most of the third game but, from 14-18 down, they clawed home – even withstanding a match point to the Japanese.