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KOREA OPEN R32 – August luck continues for Christie

  • Thu, 14 Sep 2017 03:34

The opening round of men’s singles at the saw key upsets for Jonatan Christie, Brice Leverdez, and Ygor Coelho.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Seoul.  Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

August was good to numerous players in international badminton.  The newly crowned World Champion may be missing from this week’s Korea Open but several other players who saw their own bit of success this summer also turned in good performances on Wednesday in Seoul.

Playing the same role he did at the World Championships in ousting Lee Chong Wei, France’s Brice Leverdez (pictured bottom) again claimed the highest-seeded upset victim.  He confirmed his well-established edge over Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen, beating the #4 seed in straight games.  India’s Sameer Verma needed more time but he still managed to dominate his third and deciding game over Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand.

2008 champion Lee Hyun Il (pictured) may not have boasted a seeded position but anyone can tell you that facing the crafty veteran necessitates bringing your A game.  Fortunately for Indonesian youngster Jonatan Christie, he was able to bring said game.

It helps that Jonatan Christie (pictured above) has been in the position before.  His first trip to a Superseries quarter-final came on the back of an upset in his first ever meeting with Lee, when the Indonesian was only 17.

“I played Lee Hyun Il before, in the Indonesia Open Superseries two years ago and I was really happy to beat him that time,” said Christie after his match.  “Then I beat him again today so I’m very happy that I could win again in Korea.

“I’m more of a power player, in the physical style.  I’m just 20 this year and he’s 37.  I’m confident in my age and also, today I played very well.  If I had a chance to attack, I thought, okay, and if we ended up playing a rally, that was okay too.  But yeah, he is one of the best in Korea and in the world.”

Asked about the challenges to playing his veteran opponent, Christie said, “I think Lee Hyun Il was able to deal well with the conditions on court, with the drift and so on.  I just focussed on my own strategy and also on getting the point, getting one or two points from him at a time.

“Even more than two or three years ago, he seemed to want to control and if he’s confident he can attack, he will attack and if not, he will lift or drop or pass, but keep control.”

If Christie is lucky, he will be able to treat himself to a second career Superseries semi-final ticket as a gift on his 20th birthday, which falls on quarter-finals day in Seoul.

“I feel good because before playing here, I played in the New Zealand Open and I couldn’t give my best so I want to give my best in Korea.”

Christie also mentioned the confidence boost he brings to Korea after winning gold at the recent SEA Games: “I won both the men’s team gold and the men’s singles so I’m very happy with that.”

The other August gold medallist in the men’s singles draw also enjoyed success.  2017 Universiade champion Wang Tzu Wei (pictured above) narrowly dropped his second game before dominating the decider against his 2015 predecessor Jeon Hyeok Jin.

Christie’s opponent in the second round will be Brazil’s Ygor Coelho (pictured right).  Coelho, who ascended to the place of Pan American badminton champion this year, got the better of Denmark’s Emil Holst.

In the last match of the day, Kazumasa Sakai of Japan made sure that the only past men’s singles champions anywhere near the courts this week would be those on the coaches’ chairs.  He saw off defending champion Qiao Bin in the latest and longest match of the day.

Click here for complete Wednesday results

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