Denmark Open 2018: Indonesia’s Tunjung secures easy win while third-seed Sindhu suffers upset

Gregoria Mariska Tunjung

Twelve months of unrelenting action is what Badminton is all about. The fan-favourite sport of South and Southeast Asia is back. However, fans will not be able to witness local action this time around. Instead, they will have to watch on closely from their television screens, as the action takes place in Europe. That’s right, it is time for the Denmark Open! 

The BWF World Tour has reached its twelfth stage, as the action makes its way to Europe. Traditionally, Denmark Open is one of the oldest Badminton tournaments out there. However, it was only in 2011, that it received the status of a ‘Super Series Premier’; making it one of the most sought-after prizes of the sport.

2017’s Denmark Open sprang a few surprises, most notably in the singles category, as two young and talented shuttlers finished at the top of the podium. While Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon won the Singles title in Women’s category, India’s Srikanth Kidambi did so in Men’s.

However, a new year brings a new tournament. And it’s fair to say, that this one has begun with a bang!

Third-seed Sindhu crashes out 

PV Sindhu is one of the most talented shuttlers out there. Conversely, she is also one of the most inconsistent. The Indian shutter is not having a great 2018, having already lost in the finals of the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games, the World Championships, and the Thailand Open. Unfortunately, the talented youngster couldn’t even make the second round in Denmark.

Sindhu was delivered an early shock by USA’s Zhang Beiwen, as she lost in three games (17-21, 21-16, 18-21). Beiwen went into an early lead but was pegged back by Sindhu to level the match. However, the American shuttler stood the test of resilience and came out on top against her third-seeded opponent.

Elsewhere, there was success for Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung, as she beat China’s Chen Xiaoxin in straight games. The Indonesian took the first game quite easily, beating Chen by 21-9. She did struggle in the second game, as Chen fought for her life, but ended up winning the match (21-9, 24-22).

Saina Nehwal and Akane Yamaguchi also made it through to the second round in a three-setter each. They will now face each other.

Double delight for Thailand 

Last year, it was a Thai shuttler who had found her way to the top of the podium. But as she waits for her competition to begin, it was her compatriots who enjoyed early success.

Khosit Phetpradab went up against France’s Brice Leverdez in an enticing early fixture. However, it proved to be much less of a competition than originally imagined, with Phetpradab claiming an easy 21-14, 21-15 victory. The 24-year-old will now face Angus Ng Ka Long after he shocked fifth-seed Chen Long in straight games (22-20, 21-15)!

Also joining, Phetpradab and Long in the second round is Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon, who got a first-round walkover.

ASEAN progress in Doubles categories

The Southeast Asian shuttlers did pretty well on Day 1 of the Denmark Open in Singles category. Nevertheless, their Doubles counterparts didn’t get left behind, with many pairings moving on to the Second round.

Most notable amongst those present were Malaysia’s Mixed Doubles pairs Goh/Lai and Chan/Goh S. Both the pairs were seeded seventh and sixth, respectively, and enjoyed easy wins. Thailand’s Mixed Doubles pair of Puavaranukroh/Taerattanachai also progressed after getting the better of Hong Kong’s Lee/Chau in three games.

The second Thai pair to move on to the next round was that of Kititharakul/Prajongjai, who marched on in Women’s Doubles with a walkover.