Top-ranked shuttlers survive early scares
World No. 1 shuttlers Kento Momota and Tai Tzu-ying advanced to the next round of the Singapore Badminton Open after surviving scares in their opening matches yesterday.
Momota lost 19-21 to India's Sai Praneeth in the first set before turning the tables to win 21-14, 22-20.
The 24-year-old Japanese admitted that he was rattled by Praneeth, who is ranked world No. 20.
"My opponent was constantly (in) attacking mode and I became a bit nervous. There were good and bad times in the game and in actual fact, I feel quite defeated despite my win," he said, adding that he was suffering from a cold.
"After winning the All England title at the start of the year, I was extremely satisfied with that win and this probably caused my performance at the Malaysia Open and today's performance to be sub-par and not up to my standards."
Momota will face India's Prannoy HS in the Round of 16 tomorrow.
In the women's draw, Tai had to fight tooth and nail to overcome Zhang Beiwen of the US.
The Taiwanese won the first set 21-14, but played poorly in the second and lost 10-21.
Zhang dominated the third set but Tai bounced back to win 21-18, crediting her fans who cheered her on and giving her the boost to claim victory.
"I feel that I did not perform my best as I was not feeling well yesterday," she said, adding that she was recovering from a headache. "(But) I saw many people supporting me, so it's very difficult to give up. Hopefully tomorrow will be better."
Tai faces China's Chen Xiaoxin today.
Meanwhile, Singapore's Yeo Jia Min lost 21-18, 17-21, 21-15 to Indonesia's Ruselli Hartawan, but her compatriot Grace Chua defeated America's Disha Gupta 21-19, 21-10 and will face Japan's Akane Yamaguchi today.
In the men's doubles, Singapore's Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Loh Kean Hean defeated India's Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy 21-13, 21-17. - ADEENA NAGIB
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