Hong Kong Open: ‘Must Start Winning Second Rounds’

Their unflattering streak of losing in three consecutive first rounds dating back to June is gone but Alexander Dunn and Adam Hall are motivated to do more this week.

The Scots, prior to today’s 25-23 21-11 win over Toma Junior Popov/Christo Popov at the VICTOR Hong Kong Open 2023, had dropped out early from the Singapore, Indonesia and China Opens, albeit to much-higher ranked opponents. They also suffered four other first round exits this season.

“We won a match at the World Championships you know,” jested Hall, referring to their Canadian opponents Dong Adam/Nyl Yakura’s first round retirement in Copenhagen last month.

“Seriously though, you can never take a win at this level for granted. It’s just so tough, the sport is getting so much harder.

“We don’t want easy first rounds. Winning first rounds is great, we need to start winning second rounds. That’s going to be our focus the rest of this week,” vowed the 27-year-old.

The match could have had a different outcome had Dunn and Hall not put up a determined fightback in the opening game from 18-15 down. That proved the turning point for the world No.26s.

“Sneaking that just really gave us momentum. It’s quite a tricky hall, the shuttles are fast, tough to pick out the smashes on the side we started. We just had to just relax and get our rhythm. We served a lot better towards the end of that game.”

Dunn agreed: “We thought if we could get one of those three, four-point leads, they’d drop down. That’s exactly what happened. But we still had to hold our level.”

The 24-year-old also admitted their 2-0 head-to-head record gave them a psychological advantage.

“Definitely helped a lot. To be honest, the previous two were a bit more comfortable. We set the standard from the get-go. We didn’t quite do that today but got the job done again so you have to be pleased.”

Next up are European Games gold medallists and World Championships runners-up Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, a pair Dunn/Hall have yet to get the better of after three attempts.

“We lost to them in both those events. It’s not going to be easy, we need to bring our best level,” acknowledge Hall. “In men’s doubles these days, a lot hinges on how well you execute the first four shots so we need to be sharp. We want to keep up with the gains on Thursday.”

Results (Day 1)

Order of play (Day 2)

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