French Open 2018: Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie wins a thriller; Lin Dan exits

French Open

Indonesia’s Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie showed his supreme fighting skills in his comeback win over India’s Sameer Verma as the first round action was wrapped up at the French Open, a Super 750 level badminton tournament, in Paris on Wednesday.

The 16-21, 21-17, 21-15 win that the 21-year-old earned in 61 minutes at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin, helped him avenge last week’s defeat to Verma in the second round of the Denmark Open. In Odense too, their match went the distance, but this time Christie upped his intensity and aggression after losing the first game to avoid a repeat of the same result.

The World No. 13, who is next slated to meet India’s Sai Praneeth, is the only Indonesian remaining in the men’s singles Round of 16 after a shock first-round defeat suffered by the eighth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting on Tuesday.

The tournament witnessed a huge upset on Day 2 after Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai knocked out two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan 9-21, 21-14, 21-14. The Chinese legend has been going through a rough patch, as evidenced by the fact that he hasn’t been able to reach the quarter-finals in his last four tournaments.

Thailand’s Khosit Phetpradab was sent packing 21-10, 10-21, 15-21 by Korea’s Lee Dong Keun in a marathon opening round match that lasted 1 hour 12 minutes.

Elsewhere, defending champion Kidambi Srikanth and World No. 1 Kento Momota both progressed into the second round with facile wins.

Easy win for Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon

Thailand’s former World No. 1 Ratchanok Intanon has been inconsistent of late, but she showed no sign of that in her effortless 21-16, 21-10 win over Canada’s Rachel Honderich. The sixth-ranked Intanon’s title defence at Odense last week came to a grinding halt in the second round and this week she is most definitely looking to make amends for it.

In sharp contrast to Intanon’s win, the other Thai women’s singles shuttler in action on Day 2, Nitchaon Jindapol fought valiantly for 1 hour before going down to the fourth-seeded Chen Yufei 22-20, 14-21, 8-21.

China’s World No. 28 Chen Xiaoxin needed three games to prevail over Evgeniya Kosetskaya 21-16, 16-21, 21-13, showing ample amounts of her tenacity. Gao Fangjie too joined her compatriot in the French Open Round of 16 with a 23-21, 21-18 win over Japan’s Aya Ohori.

The two finalists of the Denmark Open — Tai Tzu Ying and Saina Nehwal — began their title hunt with a couple of breezy wins. Former world champion Nozomi Okuhara too cantered into Round 2, where she will face Nehwal in an exciting showdown.

Malaysia’s mixed doubles pair out

Malaysia’s mixed doubles seventh seeds Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying were shown the door 19-21, 21-18, 21-18 by Robin Tabeling and Cheryl Seinen in a highly competitive and enthralling opening round contest of the French Open.

The other Malaysian pair in this category, the eighth seeds Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai, fared much better as they stormed back from a game deficit to secure an 11-21, 21-12, 21-6 win over Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich.

Indonesia’s irrepressible men’s doubles duo of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, who have won seven BWF titles this year, were surprisingly made to work hard for their first-round win. Fatigue could have played a tiny role for the World No. 1 combine came to this tournament straight after winning the Denmark Open on Sunday.

Gideon and Sukamuljo recovered in style from a poor start to complete their comeback with an 18-21, 21-12, 21-14 win over Mark Lamsfuss and Marvin Emil Seidel.

Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan also made it to the second round of men’s doubles with a 21-14, 21-13 win over Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling.

While the Indonesian women’s doubles pair of Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu got a walkover, the mixed doubles pair of Ricky Karandasuwardi and Debby Susanto crashed out.

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