Monday, July 30, 2018
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
Gregoria Mariska Tunjung gave a fillip to her reputation as one of the fast-rising prospects of Women’s Singles, beating Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour in the first round of the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2018 today in Nanjing.
While technically it wasn’t an upset, for Tunjung is ranked No.22 to Gilmour’s No.24, the result was among the most significant on the opening day, for the 18-year-old Indonesian had untangled herself from a knotty situation against the former European and Commonwealth Games silver medallist.
Gilmour did well to force her way back from a 11-14 deficit in the second after losing the first game, and with Tunjung (featured image) committing a slew of errors and looking downcast, it appeared the Indonesian had run out of steam. However, Tunjung regrouped quickly in the decider, and Gilmour’s game unravelled as she was repeatedly stranded by her opponent’s flicks to the deep.
“I was a bit confused when she slowed down the tempo in the second game, that’s why I made a lot of mistakes,” said Tunjung. “I wasn’t tired; I just lost my concentration. I tried to play the kind of shots she was most uncomfortable with, and then accelerated my pace.”
Tunjung next faces her predecessor as World Junior champion, Chen Yufei, bronze medallist from the last edition of the World Championships.
In the same half of the draw, Tunjung’s compatriot Fitriani Fitriani fought past Bulgaria’s Linda Zetchiri in three games, while Malaysia’s Goh Jin Wei had no problems brushing aside Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po in straight games.
England’s Chloe Birch dug herself out of a hole against Spain’s Beatriz Corrales, scrambling from 12-17 and 15-19 down to clinch victory at 21-17 21-19. Birch faces No.12 seed Beiwen Zhang (USA) in the second round.
“It was a little bit up and down,” said Birch. “I started off really well, played to the conditions well. She’s a fighter, she’s never going to lie low and give it to me. In the second I had to stick to the gameplan and she got a bit nervous at the end.
“She came out after 11 and upped the pace. I was trying to play a big game style, she played flat and hard, and it took me too long to adjust, and she went 17-12 up. That patch was crucial, I had to reset and got back to my gameplan and slow her down a bit and that worked. I’ve been playing well this season, at the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships. I can’t complain. Sometimes it’s about trusting that you’re just playing well. Hopefully I will carry that into the next round.”
In the Mixed Doubles, India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa saved three game points to beat Denmark’s Niclas Nohr/Sara Thygesen 21-9 22-20 and book a place against Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss/Isabel Herttrich.
Ponnappa’s tight serves when the chips were down turned the tide in the Indians’ favour, with the Danes unable to capitalise on the three-point lead at the end.
“I’m happy that we hung in there and focussed on what we had to do, especially at the end,” said Ponnappa. “It was a tough opening match and it will give us confidence. We’d lost to them in a close match the last time. Staying focussed was the key. My service was good because I had confidence in my partner. I was confident I could do what I wanted with the serve as I knew Satwik would be ready.”
In the bottom half of the draw, Indonesia’s Ronald Ronald and Annisa Saufika earned a hard-fought 21-19 11-21 21-16 victory over France’s Bastian Kersaudy/Lea Palermo to earn a spot against second seeds Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping (China).
Thailand had mixed luck in Men’s Doubles. While Tinn Isriyanet/Kittisak Namdash shot past Russia’s Evegenij Dremin/Denis Grachev 21-15 21-12, their compatriots Kittinupong Kedren/Dechapol Puavaranukroh fell in an hour-long battle.
The Thais were outplayed by Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pankaryanira and Ade Yusuf, who progressed to an all-Indonesian clash against No.5 seeds Berry Angriawan/Hardianto Hardianto.
In the top quarter, China’s young guns Han Chengkai/Zhou Haodong powered past Poland’s Milosz Bochat/Adam Cwalina 21-19 21-11 to set up a face-off with top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukumuljo of Indonesia.
In Women’s Doubles, Malaysia’s Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei ran into some trouble from France’s Delphine Delrue/Lea Palermo but came through in straight games. The reward for the Malaysians was a second-round meeting with Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi.
In the same quarter, China’s Huang Dongping/Li Wenmei were taken to three games by Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Ya Ching/Wu Ti Jung; the Chinese will be up against No.11 seeds Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara in the second round.