A new year brings a new start for the worlds best in Seoul but a Chinese cloud overshadowed the opening day with withdrawals and shock exits. Li Xuerui, Chen Long and the Olympic champions Cai and Fu all withdrew in the opening game of their matches, thus avoiding a fine or disqualification for “not playing with their best efforts”. Li Xuerui came into the tournament with an injury already and an opening round retirement meant that the Olympic champion would avoid a fine.
Lee Chong Wei avoided an early scare to defeat Wang Zhengming and will take on Marc Zwiebler in the last 16 tomorrow. There was more European success with Jan O Jorgensen defeating the 5th seeded Kenichi Tago in two games and will be joined in the last 16 by Viktor Axelsen also. Vladimir Ivanov completes the European group in the last 16 and takes on Jorgensen for a place in the quarterfinals. Chen Jin’s defeat to Gao Huan in three games was one of the big surprises of the opening round and Du Pengyu’s victory ensures just two Chinese players into the last 16 of a Super Series Premier for the first time in recent memory.
Li Xuerui’s retirement in her opening round game gifted Porntip Buranaprasertsuk her route into the last 16 and opened up the entire event. Saina Nehwal will be the biggest beneficiary of Li Xuerui’s retirement as the Indian becomes the top seed in the top half of the women’s singles draw. Jiang Yanjiao and Li Han ensure her route into the latter stages is far from easy whilst Wang Shixian ensures a Chinese presence in the bottom half of the draw also. European interests will fall onto Tine Baun and Juliane Schenk as has become custom in the Super Series, with the 4th and 8th seeds progressing without much resistance. The biggest surprise was Wang Yihan’s retirement leading 19-8 in the second game, after the second seed lost the opening game.
Lee and Ko will be the crowd favourite in the men’s doubles and their opening round victory over Blair and Tan ensures another day of capacity crowds in Seoul. Boe and Mogensen’s victory sets up an all-European second round match against Kindervater and Schoettler. Koo and Tan, seeded 2nd will take on another Malaysian pair in their second round in Ong and Gan but have a pair of Japanese threats waiting in the later rounds. Endo and Hayakawa as well as Hirata and Hashimoto recorded opening round victories in the same half of the draw and with Lee and Ko also in this side of the draw, this could be the most competitive event of the week.
Wang and Yu began 2013 with a routine victory over Korea’s Lee and Ko with Zhao Yunlei and new partner Cheng Shu being a potential quarter final opponent. Tian Qing and her new partner Bao Yixin also progressed in the top half of the women’s doubles with a straightforward two game victory. Only Ma and Tang will represent China in the bottom half and the top seed in this half of the draw, Pedersen and Rytter Juhl survived a three-game match against Bernadeth and Pradipta of Indonesia to eventually book their place in the last 16.
A full compliment of seeds made it through to the last 16 in the mixed doubles, headlined by Xu and Ma of China who defeated Lee and Kim of Korea to set up a second round match against Fuchs and Michels of Germany. There is an all-European match between European champions Mateusiak and Zieba who take on the new English partnership of Adcock and White. Christinna Pedersen again needed three games to progress with her partner Joachim Fischer Neilsen to set up a second round match against Shin and Eom of Korea. Zhang and Zhao abruptedly ended the run of the new Danish partnership of Pieler Kolding and Rytter Juhl in the opening round to set up a second round match against the Russian pair of Durkin and Vislova.
Day 1 Results: