The in-form Chou Tien Chen held off a stiff challenge from Hans-kristian Solberg Vittinghus tonight at St. Jakobshalle to launch his medal quest at the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019.
In the evening’s feature clash on centre court, the No.2 men’s singles seed – who has come into this showpiece tournament buoyed by some big wins – prevailed 21-15 17-21 21-17 in a gritty battle to advance to the second round in Basel, Switzerland.
The 29-year-old star tightened his defence and displayed greater composure in the critical exchanges to edge his steely Danish rival who certainly had his chances but failed to capitalise. Ultimately, those small but key margins – for example, feathery shots that ended in the net, rather than over it – counted as Chou powered away from a narrow 14-13 lead in the decider.
Highlights | Chou tops Vittinghus 🇩🇰 in a thrilling back-and-forth Round of 64 match 🏸#TOTALBWFWC2019 #Basel2019 pic.twitter.com/0nnPtvj4RC
— BWF (@bwfmedia) August 19, 2019
Reflecting on the match, the Chinese Taipei ace noted the “first round is always tough because you’re trying to get used to the wind and the shuttle. I really needed to focus but it was very difficult so I just tried to push him. The shuttle was slow…and you needed power to play”.
Meanwhile, veteran Vittinghus rued his missed opportunity while acknowledging this performance mirrored his year so far.
“I’m both satisfied and frustrated. I think I played really well as I have this year in all the tournaments, except one. But obviously, it’s frustrating to keep getting very close to beating the best guys and not beating them,” the 33-year-old said, elaborating on his downfall.
“My serving was terrible and Chou was more consistent and didn’t give away as many points.”
India’s Sameer Verma was not as fortunate as Chou, falling in the nightcap to a resurgent Loh Kean Yew. The Singaporean bounced back from dropping the first game to oust the No.10 men’s singles seed, 15-21 21-15 21-10, in 61 minutes.
Earlier, Verma’s team-mate Kidambi Srikanth, showed his class to overcome young Irishman Nhat Nguyen. The No.7 seed won 17-21 21-16 21-6.
Scots Edge Thailand
Meanwhile, men’s doubles duo, Alexander Dunn/Adam Hall, held their nerves for a thrilling victory against Bodin Isara/Maneepong Jongjit.
The Scottish pair clawed through 21-19 11-21 21-19 in an encounter that constantly saw their Thai opponents playing catch-up in a see-saw tussle from 12-12 in the third game. At 19-19, Dunn/Hall eked out the last two points to seize the honours; a net tickle by Dunn clipping the top of the tape and falling in their favour.
“They were the favourites but they were more nervous and we got more opportunities and, thankfully, we took them,” said Dunn.
The win put Scotland into the third round as their second-round opponents, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty of India, have withdrawn. There is the prospect that their next match could be versus Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan which would be extra special for Hall.
“Hendra Setiawan is my badminton idol so any chance I get to play him would be great. So I’m hoping they get to the third round,” declared the 23-year-old.