Destination two for the Super Series takes the players to Kuala Lumpur and to world number 1 Lee Chong Wei’s homeland as he looks to successfully defend his title from 2012. A distinct lack of Chinese seeds throughout the draw has opened the opportunity for some of the lesser-known players to reach the latter stages this week.
Lee Chong Wei opened his campaign in spectacular style, demolishing Viktor Axelsen 21-8, 21-10 to set a marker for the rest of draw that he is in excellent form this week after his victory in Seoul on Sunday. Second seeded Kenichi Tago similarly had little problems in progressing to the second round but losses for Wang Zhengming and Tien Minh Nguyen in the first round has opened the draw out further with the 3rd seeded Nguyen losing in three games to Taufik Hidayat who could be a potential semi finalist against Lee Chong Wei.
Ratchanok and Schenk’s withdrawal ensured an even weaker draw in the women’s singles without any of the top Chinese players present this week. Top seed Saina Nehwal will not complain as she progressed into the second safely after a comfortable two-game victory. Tine Baun needed three games to defeat P.V. Sindhu in her second to last Super Series and will take on Sun Yu of China in the second round. The match of the second round will be the all-Korean clash between Sung Ji Hyun and Bae Yeon Ju after both recorded victories in their opening round matches. The lower ranking Bae holds a 2-1 advantage but Sung took their most recent matchup in the Korea Open two years ago.
Top seeded Koo and Tan set up an all-Malaysia second round match against Goh and Lim with a potential Malaysian opponent waiting in the next round in Hoon and Tan, seeded 5th this week. Lee and Ko are a potential semi final opponent, with the 6th seeded Korean’s defeating Fuchs smokeaway electronic cigarette and Roth of Germany in two games to reach the last 16. The only two Chinese pairs in the draw will meet in the second round with Qiu and Zhang taking on Chai and Liu in their first meeting.
The only top seeded Europeans, Pedersen and Rytter Juhl progressed in three games to set up a rare all-European match in the second round against Goliszewski and Michels of Germany. The second seeded Matsutomo and Takahashi dropped just 14 points on route to a second round match against England’s Olver and Robertshaw who benefitted from a retirement in their opening round match. Giving blood in the cause of reaching the second round is not common within badminton, but Jillie Cooper managed to do just that playing with Kirsty Gilmour on route to a two game victory over Ho and Yap of Malaysia. They take on the Korean pairing of Ko and Yoo in their second round match, who defeated the 7th seeded Jauhari and Polii of Indonesia. Two Chinese pairs remain massive threats for the title with Ma and Tang winning in three games and Bao and Tian needing three games also to reach the second round.
Chan and Goh survived a massive scare in their opening round match, needing to save three match points to remain in the competition against the Thai pairing of Prapakamol and Aroonkesorn. Their opponents in the second round are even more fortunate to be in the last 16, Pieler Kolding and Rytter Juhl saved seven match points over the course of two games to win 19-21, 24-22, 24-22 and ensure their place in the second round. The second seeded Danish pair of Fischer Nielsen and Pedersen take on a new Chinese pairing feature one half of the Olympic gold pairing of Zhao Yunlei and partner Qiu Zihan, who needed three games to progress past qualifers Lee and Chau of Hong Kong.
Day 1 Results: