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The Star Australian Badminton Open 2014 – Day 3: Intanon Falls to Han Li

World champion Ratchanok Intanon met an early end at The Star Australian Badminton Open 2014 today.

The Thai’s topsy-turvy form this year continued as she followed up her runner-up performance at last week’s BCA Indonesia Open with a second-round loss to China’s Han Li. The Women’s Singles encounter lasted just 36 minutes with the emerging Chinese prospect outclassing the second seed (BWF home page) 21-14 21-19.

In the quarter-finals, Han will take on Japan’s Yui Hashimoto (above), who surprised her higher-ranked team-mate Sayaka Takahashi, 21-13 21-13.

Intanon’s compatriot Nichaon Jindapon also suffered an early exit after her heroics in Indonesia. Jindapon, a semi-finalist at Jakarta, was no match for eighth seed Sindhu PV of India, 21-13 21-7. Sindhu will met Spain’s Carolina Marin, who had a comfortable win over third seed Sung Ji Hyun (Korea), 21-15 21-17. Japanese veteran Eriko Hirose created a ripple of sorts  in taking down Sung’s compatriot and fourth seed Bae Yeon Ju in a 77-minute match, 18-21 21-18 21-15.

In the top quarter, Wang Shixian (China, 1) and Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei, 5) ended Australia’s hopes, stopping Tara Pilven and Verdet Kessler respectively, both in straight games.

Veteran Mixed Doubles pair Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam (above) pulled off one of the exciting wins of the day in a match that lasted 72 minutes. The Thai pair held two match points over Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong but the Chinese escaped from the brink and surged to a 14-10 lead in the third game. The vast experience of the Thai pair came to their aid and they held off their opponents in the tense closing stages to emerge victorious, 21-18 20-22 21-19.

In-form German pair Michael Fuchs/Birgit Michels powered past Hong Kong’s Chan Yun Lung/Tse Ying Suet 21-17 21-17 and will run into Korea’s Lee Yong Dae/Shin Seung Chan next.

Second seeds Xu Chen/Ma Jin were taken the distance by Scotland’s Robert Blair/Imogen Bankier. Xu and Ma needed nearly an hour to quell the Scots: 21-14 10-21 21-13. The Chinese have a potentially tough quarter-final ahead, against Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na.

HIGHLIGHTS:                         

* Defending Men’s Singles champion Tian Houwei had his hands full against Japan’s Takuma Ueda and needed three games to prevail: 21-10 18-21 21-17. Tian’s quarter-final challenger will be compatriot Wang Zhengming, who too needed three games to outplay Sai Praneeth of India, 21-15 8-21 21-19.

* Women’s Doubles saw a few long-drawn encounters. Olympic champions Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei held off a tough challenge from Korea’s Ko A Ra/Yoo Hae Won, 21-9 19-21 21-18. Third seeds Jang Ye Na/Kim So Young were upset by compatriots Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan, 22-20 19-21 21-12. A similar fate befell fourth seeds Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa (Japan) at the hands of compatriots Shizuka Matsuo/Mami Naito.

* Former partners squared off against each other in Men’s Doubles as seventh seeds Zhang Nan/Fu Haifeng (left) took on Lu Kai/Cai Yun. A sensational match unfolded, with Zhang/Fu on the verge of victory with three match points in the second game. However, Lu/Cai picked off five straight points, and then avoided another sticky situation in the decider to emerge winners: 19-21 22-20 21-19.

 

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