Photo credit: Tang Shi
Young meets old at China Open, which begins on Tuesday 18 September in Changzhou. And two locals have drawn each other in first round, which contains many very interesting matches.
The third HSCB BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament of the year has USD 1 million ready in prize money for the players travelling to Changzhou these days. Shi Yuqi won the first of the year – All England – and Kento Momota the second – Indonesia Open.
Nearly a year as number 1
The tournament, which will be played in the Olympic Sports Center Xincheng Gymnasium, offers several interesting first round matches. Viktor Axelsen is top seeded and has a first round against Khosit Phetpradab who enjoyed great success in Japan Open despite losing the final to Kento Momota earlier today. Being top seeded is no new things for Denmark’s top player though. Axelsen has been world number 1 for nearly a full year now – from 28 September 2017, except for one week in April 2018.
The winner of this match will have another tough match in second round. The two have been paired in a quartet with Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Lin Dan, and whoever of these four makes it into the quarterfinal could very well be facing Chen Long in the quarterfinal.
Drawn against compatriots
Chen Long is seeded 6 and tries something new from this first season of the World Tour; he faces a compatriot in first round, Huang Yuxiang. The two only played one time before where Chen Long drew the longest straw in three games. Sameer Verma and Lee Dong Keun met in first round in Japan Open and they repeat this in China. They are battling with the two Chinese for a spot in the quarterfinal against Axelsen, Phetpradab, Ginting or Lin Dan.
Lee had big this success in Japan this past week as he reached the semifinal. This was at the expense of his compatriot Son Wan Ho who he eliminated in second round. Son is seeded 4 in China and has been drawn against one of the local boys, Qiao Bin. The way to the quarterfinal goes through several Chinese dialects as Wong Wing Ki Vincent or Wang Tzu Wei will be waiting in second round.
We will see a total of three first round clashes between same nationalities in men’s single. The second is a Taiwanese battle between Hsu Jen Hao and 5th seeded Chou Tien Chen. That means that the winner of the other match in this quartet of the draw, Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus or Kantaphon Wangcharoen, will have Taiwanese opposition in second round.
Young meets old
China’s runner-up at the World Championships, Shi Yuqi, is second seeded on his home soil. He is facing the number 1 ranked on the Race to Guanzhou ranking, Tommy Sugiarto, in his first match. The winner’s opponent in second round will be found between one of the youngest and one of the oldest players in the draw. Anders Antonsen is 21 and Lee Hyun Ill is 38. The two will have their third clash in first round at China Open. In the two previous encounters they had, experience beat the youth.
Ng Ka Long Angus is the lowest seeded player in Changzhou. He is drawn against H. S. Prannoy in first round and the winner faces either Jonatan Christie or Kanta Tsuneyama in second. This quartet will find its opponent in the quarterfinal in the quartet of Shi Yuqi.
French up for Japanese language course
World Champion, winner at Japan Open, and probably the best player in the world at the moment – Kento Momota – is seeded third. It is Brice Leverdez who has the pleasure of the strong Japanese on Tuesday. Whoever of the two who wins is secured a Japanese opponent in second match as he will be up against Kenta Nishimoto or Kazumasa Sakai. They hereby conclude the three matches with same nationalities in first round.
There is no overload of Europeans in China Open. One third of them did however manage to be placed in the same quartet of the draw. We are talking about Mark Caljouw and Rasmus Gemke who lost to each their finalist of Japan Open this past week. Caljouw lost to Khosit Phetpradab and Gemke lost to Kento Momota, both in second round. This week the two Europeans have the chance to meet each other in second.
That obviously requires two victories in first round. Caljouw is drawn against Suppanyu Avihingsanon who was recently defeated by Gemke in the final of Spain Masters. Gemke has the pleasure of 7-seeded Kidambi Srikanth in his first match.
Selected matches to keep an extra eye on
In men’s single we think there are several matches to keep an extra eye on. We would have liked to just pick one, but that is simply impossible.
The first one is Anthony Sinisuka Ginting against Lin Dan. In his last five tournaments the Chinese legend only has a quarterfinal as his best result – and that’s not very good when your name is Lin Dan. The quarterfinal was even just few two days ago when Kento Momota wiped out the five times World Champion with 8 and 10. Ginting on the other hand has shown impressive performances against the very same Momota lately.
He eliminated the Japanese in straight games at the individual event of the Asian Games. One week earlier Momota had needed three games and 84 minutes to beat the Indonesian at the team event. So the question now is – if we can allow ourselves to measure the players against Momota – whether Ginting or Lin Dan is the strongest right now. The result on Tuesday will of course tell us the answer.
We also draw attention to the three matches with same nationalities playing each other; Chen Long vs. Huang Yuxiang, Chou Tien Chen vs. Hsu Jen Hao, and Kenta Nishimoto vs. Kazumasa Sakai. And finally we are very interested in finding out whether youth or experience is the strongest when Anders Antonsen plays Lee Hyun Ill.
Click here to read our other previews for China Open: