Potential for Titanic Clash – Day 2: YONEX-SUNRISE Hong Kong Open 2018

Kim Gi Jung and Lee Yong Dae set tongues wagging about a prospective quarter-final clash versus world top guns, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, as they progressed to the YONEX-SUNRISE Hong Kong Open 2018 second round today.

The resurgent Koreans (featured image) – not long ago part of a stellar crop of Men’s Doubles exponents from that nation – showed they are still a class act, pummeling No.7 seeds Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding of Denmark, 21-12 21-11, in their opening fixture at the Hong Kong Coliseum. Kim and Lee will be up against familiar faces in the second round, drawn against their compatriots, Chung Eui Seok/Kim Dukyoung. The latter came through qualification and then held their nerves in a nail-biting first-round battle to thwart Thailand’s Kittinupong Kedren and Dechapol Puavaranukroh (21-11 16-21 21-18).

Earlier in the evening, Indonesia’s star pair kept on track for the tantalizing Kim-Lee clash, comfortably beating Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe, 21-14 21-15, in just 28 minutes. Fresh from winning last week’s Fuzhou China Open 2018, the Gideon-Sukamuljo juggernaut will next tackle veteran duo, Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen. The Danes swept aside India’s rising sons, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty, 21-19 23-21. Men’s Doubles also witnessed the demise of No.2 seeds, Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen of China and No.5 seeds Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin of Chinese Taipei. Ironically, the latter were defeated by a Chinese tandem, He Jiting/Tan Qiang (21-17 22-20), while it was Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-Huei/Lee Yang who beat Li/Liu (21-12 21-15). Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong wasted no time in avenging their loss to China’s Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan last week, toppling the No.3 seeds, 11-21 21-18 21-15.

In Women’s Singles, Chen Yufei’s euphoria from winning the Fuzhou China Open 2018 was short-lived as the No.4 seed was ousted by Pornpawee Chochuwong; the rival whom Chen beat for the World Junior crown in 2016. The Thai player won 14-21 21-10 22-20. Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying – who was sidelined by illness last week – revved up for her title defence with a 16-21 21-8 21-14 victory over local contender, Yip Pui Yin. Second-seeded Akane Yamaguchi was also stretched to three games, but the relentless Japanese came through 10-21 21-10 21-19 against Saina Nehwal of India.

On the men’s side, Nehwal’s fiancé Parupalli Kashyap fared similarly, going down to No.7 seed, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting. The Indonesian defeated his Indian opponent, 21-16 21-13. Lin Dan was again not good enough to stop the rampant Kento Momota. Hunting his second crown in as many weeks, the Japanese top seed trumped China’s two-time Olympic champion, 21-19 12-21 21-15. Should Momota reach the final, Chou Tien Chen will not be across the net as he was on Sunday; the Chinese Taipei ace buckling to Korea’s Lee Dong Keun. In a thrilling encounter, Lee rebounded from being trounced in the opener, to save two match points in the second and another one in the third before prevailing against the No.3 seed, 8-21 23-21 22-20, in 80 minutes.

Women’s Doubles saw the retirement of No.3 seeds, Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan, with France’s Emilie Lefel/Anne Tran 4-1 ahead in the first game. Elsewhere, Du Yue/Li Yinhui of China knocked out World champions, Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara of Japan (24-26 21-19 21-18). Du was also successful in Mixed Doubles, combining with He Jiting to beat Hongkongers, Mak Hee Chun/Yeung Nga Ting (21-12 21-7) in 27 minutes. Nagahara was victorious too in the mixed discipline, partnering Takuro Hoki to outgun, Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Alexandra Bøje (21-19 21-14).

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