Reality comes back to bite HK's Wong
Hong Kong's Wong Wing-ki found out what a difference three weeks can make after world and Olympic champion Lin Dan gained revenge at the US$250,000 Sunrise-Yonex Hong Kong Open last night.
Having claimed a remarkable three-game victory over Lin at the Denmark Open last month, Wong found little chance of repeating that success as he lost in straight games, 21-16, 21-16, at the Hong Kong Coliseum.
'I tried everything I could, but he simply didn't give me a chance this time,' Wong said. 'Unlike our previous encounter, this time he stayed focused and took the initiative from the start. I had to work hard to cope with his aggressive play and his pace was simply too much for me to handle.
'There is no disappointment. The result shows there is still a big gap between Lin and me and I need to make a lot of progress before I can match his level.'
Lin admitted he was better prepared this time. 'I did not play well in our first encounter, but I was a lot better today,' the world No 3 said.
Lin will find it tougher in his next match as he meets Shon Wan-ho of South Korea. 'The court lighting is still too strong and sometimes it was difficult to see the shuttle,' Lin said, repeating his complaint from a day earlier.
Organisers of the tournament decided yesterday to reduce the court lighting after repeated requests from players.
Defending women's singles champion Saina Nehwal of India also said the lighting was too bright after defeating Yao Jie of the Netherlands in straight games, 21-17, 21-17, while Beijing Olympics women's doubles champion Yu Yang was also affected by it.
'The lighting will be reduced to 1,200-1,500 lux when we re-set the number of courts from four to two [today],' said Hong Kong Badminton Association honorary secretary Chow Yat-kwong.
'We did not receive any complaints from the team officials, but we understand the strong lighting has affected the players.'
Indian Nehwal, meanwhile, admitted the Chinese women were currently the dominating force in world badminton and they would be hard to topple. 'They are very strong,' she said. 'But it doesn't mean players from other countries have no chance. Players like Tine Baun and Yao have a chance.'
Nehwal will meet Baun of Denmark in today's quarter-finals.
All three leading Chinese women are through to the last eight. Top seed Wang Yihan needed three games to beat Minatsu Mitani of Japan in their first-ever encounter, but both Wang Shixian, the second seed and finalist of last year, and Wang Xin, the world No 3, had little problem thrashing their opponents in straight games.
Hong Kong's Tse Ying-suet and Poon Lok-yan also reached the quarter-finals in the women's doubles, the same stage as last year. But they face a stern test against top seeds Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli of China today.
'We have met them three times and never taken a game off them,' said Tse.
The Hong Kong pair are ranked ninth in the world and look likely to book a place in next summer's London Olympics.
'There is nothing to lose and it will be a good test to see how far we can go against the favourites,' Tse said of their-quarter-final match.