Taiwan's Chou survives first round scare at badminton worlds

2019/08/20 14:41:07 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Chou Tien-chen /CNA file photo

Chou Tien-chen /CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 20 (CNA) World No. 2 Chou Tien-chen (周天成) of Taiwan was pushed to the limit before prevailing in his men's singles opening round match at the BWF World Championships on Monday.

The Taiwan badminton ace held off Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark 21-15, 17-21, 21-17 in a battle that lasted 73 minutes on the opening day of the championships.

"The first round is always tough because you're trying to get used to the wind and the shuttle. I really needed to focus but it was very difficult so I just tried to push him. The shuttle was slow...and you needed power to play," Chou was quoted as saying by the BWF website.

Chou had defeated Vittinghus in their previous six encounters dating back to March 2017, but given that the last three wins all went the full three games, it was no surprise he had trouble with the Dane.

The 29-year-old Taiwanese actually started strong, jumped to a 12-3 lead in the opening game, but Vittinghus showed he would not go down easily, rallying to within a point at 15-14 before Chou pulled away.

In a seesaw second game, Chou was within a point late at 18-17, but Vittinghus won the final three points, setting up a decisive third game.

The two players remained closely matched until Chou ran off three straight points to take a 19-14 lead, and he soon put away the match.

"My serving was terrible and Chou was more consistent and didn't give away as many points," Vittinghus was quoted as saying by the BWF website.

Chou's next opponent will be Croatian Zvonimir Durkinjak, a player the Taiwanese has never faced who is ranked 116th in the world.

Taiwan's Wang Tzu-wei (王子維), ranked 28th in the world, also advanced to the second round of the men's singles, defeating Rosario Maddaloni of Italy at men's singles 21-6, 21-16.

He will next face eighth-seeded Kenta Nishimoto of Japan.

Taiwan also had first round success in the mixed doubles and men's doubles.

The mixed doubles pairing of Wang Chi-lin (王齊麟) and Cheng Chi-ya (程琪雅) topped Kohei Gondo and Ayane Kurihara of Japan 21-18, 21-11, and Lin Shang-kai (林上凱) and Tseng Min-hao (曾敏豪) edged past Chang Tak-ching (張德正) and Yeung Ming-nok (楊銘諾) of Hong Kong 20-22, 21-13, 21-16.

The only Taiwanese to lose on day one of the competition were men's doubles duo Lu Ching-yao (盧敬堯) and Yang Po-han (楊博涵), who were ousted by Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge of England 21-13, 21-10.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Chung Yu-chen)
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