Returning for it’s second annual run in it’s current form the Canada Open is underway now in Richmond, Canada. Also returning is marquee player Taufik Hidayat, ready to once again delight the local spectators.
Business As Usual For Taufik
The first day of the event proved relatively non threatening to the big names. Of the mens singles seeds only Michael Lahnsteiner of Austria fell with a 21-16, 21-19 loss to American Howard Shu. Pablo Abian struggled more than expected with Andrez Lopez but still managed to win 21-13, 19-21, 21-13. Crowd favourite Taufik Hidayat managed a fairly straight forward win over Switzerland’s Anthony Dumartheray 21-16, 21-13.
The womens singles seeds faced even less pressure with all of them progressing without dropping a single set. Top seeded Shao Chieh Cheng looked completely at ease during her first round match against Joycelyn Ko of Canada winning 21-16, 21-6. From here on out it’s quite possible that the top seed may play all Japanese players until the final unless Spanish youngster Carolina Marin has something to say about it. The Spaniard won her first match against Victoria Montero 21-7, 21-15.
Lee Yong Dae Ends Canadians’ Run
Lee Yong Dae may be a crowd favourite and favourite in both his respective events, however he wasn’t too popular yesterday when he easily ended the hopes of two Canadian pairs. Starting with the mixed doubles he paired with Ha Jung Eun to defeat Hao Li and Reshma Bhambhani 21-5, 21-15 in a mere 15 minutes. Next he went on to partner with Ko Sung Hyun to defeat Canada’s number 2 mens doubles pair Toby Ng and Jon Vandervet 21-8, 21-15. While Ko Sung Hyun might not be Lee’s regular partner there is no doubt that the pair are legitimate threats to win here this week. The last match of the day which kept all the volunteers at the Oval late was Juergen Koch and Peter Zauner’s mens doubles match against China’s sixth seeded Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan. The Austrian pair were obviously no match for the Chinese in terms of raw speed, however they played incredibly smart and their anticipation made up for any lack of physical speed they may have had. Reading all of the Chinese pairs shots they pushed them in an incredible 3 game match, but eventually lost 21-15, 18-21, 21-15.
Canada’s Grether and Reid Crushed
The womens doubles provided numerous byes to several pairs and few matches were played as a result, however Canada’s top ranked international pair Charmaine Reid and Nicole Grether fell to Shu Cheng and Bao Yixin 21-11, 21-6 which was surely a disappointment to the local fans. However, national champions Alex Bruce and Michelle Li remain and today have an important match in their Olympic qualification run against Americans Eva Lee and Paula Obanana.