Chen Long, Intanon Crash Out – All England: Day 1

Two-time men’s singles champion Chen Long was ambushed by young Dane Rasmus Gemke in the opening round of the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2019, on a day that saw the exit of a number of seeds.

Among those who fell in the evening session were women’s singles seventh seed Ratchanok Intanon; women’s doubles second seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi, and men’s singles fifth seed Son Wan Ho – who exited the tournament with an injury. Former champion Lin Dan, runner-up at last year’s All England, also crashed out, to Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama, 19-21 21-14 21-7. However, mixed doubles defending champions and third seeds Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino overcame Danish challengers Mathias Christiansen/Christinna Pedersen in a see-saw affair.

Match of the Session

Watanabe and Higashino had a battle on their hands from the start as Christiansen and Pedersen kept pace with them and even shot ahead at the end of the opening game. With three game points the Danes looked set to surge ahead but some great defending by the Japanese – Watanabe in particular saving a point with a spectacular dive – nixed their chances.

Still, Christiansen and Pedersen did well to put the disappointment of the opening game behind them, and in turn denied the Japanese three match points to take the contest to a deciding third game. However, their momentum was off from the start of the third as they trailed 0-6 and the Japanese kept ahead by a comfortable distance to take the match 22-20 21-23 21-14 in 72 minutes.

The Moment

Watanabe and Higashino shook off the loss of three match points in the second game to establish a big lead in the third – ensuring that the pressure stayed on Christiansen and Pedersen.

The Equation

The third seeds take on China’s Lu Kai/Chen Lu for a place in the quarterfinals. Lu Kai is a former champion, but with a different partner – Huang Yaqiong.

Did You Know

This was the first match between Watanabe/Higashino and Christiansen/Pedersen.

Other Results

  • Rasmus Gemke shrugged off Chen Long’s 14-9 lead in the second game, equalling at 16, before taking the match 21-15 21-17 for what he termed the biggest win of his career.
  • Chen Xiaoxin earned her first win over Intanon in six matches, beating the two-time All England runner-up 21-23 24-22 21-14 after saving a match point.
  • 2016 All England champions Matsutomo/Takahashi were beaten by Korea’s Chang Ye Na/Jung Kyung Eun, 21-17 10-21 21-19.
  • Mixed doubles sixth seeds Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock had a good start at their home event, beating Malaysia’s Chen Tang Jie/Peck Yen Wei 21-16 21-18.
France’s Anne Tran during her women’s doubles win with Emilie Lefel over Sweden’s Emma Karlsson/Johanna Magnusson.

Talking Point

“It’s my biggest achievement and I’m very happy. He’s one of the best in the world and has been at the top for ten years, so I knew I had to be 100 per cent ready from the start. I think he was a bit nervous and made a few mistakes in the first game, but he got better in the second and I had to keep my level high all the time,” said Gemke.

Keep An Eye On

In tomorrow’s second round matches, these might be close contests:

  • Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe (Japan) vs. Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (Malaysia)
  • Kidambi Srikanth (India) vs. Jonatan Christie (Indonesia)
  • Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong (Korea) vs. Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara (Japan)

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