Chen overcomes nerves to progress at OUE Singapore Open
Nervous Jiayuan keeps Singapore flag flying as teammates crash out
National shuttler Chen Jiayuan was the only bright spark in what was a gloomy day on the court for Singapore at the OUE Singapore Open yesterday.
The 23-year-old was the only local to progress to the second round of the tournament, following the exit of four of the Republic's doubles pairings.
Chen (photo), ranked 40th in the world, overcame a sluggish start to beat American Iris Wang (No. 44) 2-1 in the women's singles competition at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Chen, the Republic's only representative in the women's singles, triumphed 22-20, 18-21, 21-15 in 53 minutes, and will face fifth seed and world No. 6 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan tomorrow at 6.20pm.
Although the Singaporean won the first set, it was obvious that nerves got to her and she committed a string of errors. After losing the second set, however, she improved towards the end and rallied against her less experienced opponent.
"My preparation going into the match was not optimal and, every time I lost a point, I got more nervous," Chen said.
"So I kept playing very quickly, maybe too quickly. (But) I gave my best and didn't give up, because I wanted a breakthrough."
Chen, who won the women's singles title at the Maybank Malaysia Challenge last November, is now the Republic's top women's shuttler, following the retirement of Gu Juan, Xing Aiying and Fu Mingtian.
She knows she will need a big improvement when she faces Tai, who beat Thailand's Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 21-13, 21-13 yesterday, for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Said Chen: "For the third round, I will change my strategy and pace myself more. I should be more familiar with playing here as well.
"My next opponent is very strong, so I just have to try to get used to pressure and adjust my mentality."
In the men's doubles, Chayut Triyachart and Danny Bawa Chrisnanta were left to rue a narrow 21-19, 21-19 loss to South Korea's Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang.
The Singapore pair, ranked 21st in the world, last played the same opponents at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, last year, when they also lost in straight games.
Said Chrisnanta: "It was a close fight and experience is very important for this kind of competition. They were more confident, especially towards the end of the game."
In the women's doubles, the newly-formed partnership of Vanessa Neo and Shinta Mulia Sari was no match for second seeds Reika Kakiiwa and Miyuki Maeda of Japan. The Singaporeans went down 21-9, 21-12.
Women's doubles pair Deline Quek and Ong Ren-ne, and men's doubles tandem Hendra Wijaya and Terry Hee also fell to Korean opponents yesterday.
This leaves Chen and the mixed doubles pairing of Neo and Chrisnanta - who didn't play yesterday - as the only Singaporeans left in the draw.
Neo and Chrisnanta (ranked No. 17 in the world) will face South Koreans Choi Sol Kyu and Chae Yoo Jung at 2pm today.
Meanwhile, the tournament's top seeds in the singles competition comfortably progressed to the next round yesterday.
Men's world No. 1 Chen Long of China saw off South Korea's Lee Dong Keun 21-10, 21-13, while women's defending champion Wang Yihan, also from China, was too strong for Vietnam's Vu Thi Trang in a 21-13, 21-11 victory.
1ST RD (SINGAPOREANS FIRST)
- Men's doubles: Chayut Triyachart/Danny Bawa Chrisnanta lost to Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang (Kor) 21-19, 21-19, Hendra Wijaya/Terry Hee lost to Choi Sol Kyu/Ko Sung Hyun (Kor) 13-21 21-16 21-14
- Women's doubles: Vanessa Neo/Shinta Mulia Sari lost to Reika Kakiiwa/Miyuki Maeda (Jpn) 21-9, 21-12, Deline Quek/Ong Ren-ne lost to Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan (Kor) 21-9, 21-5
- Women's singles: Chen Jiayuan bt Iris Wang (US) 22-20, 18-21, 21-15
WHAT'S ON (Selected)
- Men's singles: Chen Long (Chn) v Hu Yun (Hk), Simon Santoso (Ina) v Viktor Axelsen (Den)
- Women's singles: Chen Jiayuan v Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe), Wang Yihan (Chn) v Zhang Beiwen (US)
- Men's doubles: Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (Kor) v Hirokatsu Hashimoto/Noriyasu Hirata
- Women's doubles: Misaki Matsutomo/ Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn) v Chae Yoo Jung/ Kim So Yeong (Kor)
- Mixed doubles: Danny Chrisnanta/Vanessa Neo v Choi Sol Kyu/ Chae Yoo Jung (Kor), Zhao Yunlei/Zhang Nan (Chn) v Niclas Nohr/Sara Thygesen (Den).