Overcoming two-time champ is what matters for Chen Long
Chen says beating two-time champion is more important than winning tournament
It was just a second-round win in the OUE Singapore Open men's singles competition, but Chen Long's 17-21, 21-18, 21-9 triumph over Boonsak Ponsana yesterday is one that the former will cherish for a long time.
After all, the Chinese world No. 1 had never progressed beyond the second round of the Badminton World Federation Superseries tournament, and he was up against one of the most successful players in the tournament's history.
"(Boonsak) is a two-time champion here and three times the runner-up. I knew that coming into today's match and I did a lot of preparations for it," said Chen, who is competing at his third Singapore Open.
"It doesn't matter if I eventually win the title here or not, I just wanted to beat the best player in the Singapore Open."
The 27-year-old Chinese star and Thailand's Ponsana, 34, were engaged in an enthralling cat-and-mouse game on Court 2 at the Indoor Stadium, peppered by deft flicks, trick shots and dives that drew gasps and appreciative applause.
RAN OUT OF STEAM
Ponsana overturned a 15-17 deficit in the first set to win 21-17, but ran out of steam at the end of the second set.
He said: "It was very tough for me because Chen Long is really tough and stronger than me.
"I felt tired in the second set... I couldn't control the game and I used a lot of my power.
"In the third game, I felt so tired but I had to try."
Two-time Olympic singles champion Lin Dan took just 34 minutes to despatch Indonesian rising star Jonatan Christie 21-13, 21-7.
The 32-year-old Chinese shuttler said: "I tried my best to control my rhythm on the court and I was quite immersed in the game.
"I did not give my opponent any chance, so I think I fared well here."
Women's singles world No. 1 Carolina Marin is also through to the quarter-finals today after beating Thailand's Nitchaon Jindapol 21-19, 21-15 with a strapped left ankle, having rolled it the day before.
The 22-year-old Spaniard said: "(My ankle) is not good but, after I taped it, I didn't have to think about it on the court."
The biggest casualty of the second round was women's world No. 4 Nozomi Okuhara of Japan.
The newly crowned All-England champion, who stands at 1.55 metres, was up against defending champion Sun Yu of China, who at 1.82m made her height advantage count in her 21-16, 21-11 win.
But Okuhara, 21, said: "It was a little difficult to beat her, not due to her height, but because she was fully prepared for the match."
MEN'S SINGLES 2ND RD: Son Wan Ho (Kor) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 14-21, 21-12, 21-7, Chen Long (Chn) bt Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 17-21, 21-18, 21-9, Lin Dan (Chn) bt Jonatan Christie (Ina) 21-13, 21-7
WOMEN'S SINGLES 2ND RD: Carolina Marin (Spa) bt Nichaon Jindapol (Tha) 21-19, 21-15, Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) bt Hsu Ya-ching (Tpe) 21-19, 21-17, Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (Tha) bt Wang Yihan (Chn) 9-21, 24-22, 21-17, Sun Yu (Chn) bt Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn) 21-16, 21-11
MEN'S DOUBLES 2ND RD: Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (Ina) bt Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar (Ind) 21-12, 21-12, Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) bt Danny Bawa Chrisnanta/Hendra Wijaya (Sin) 21-10, 21-10
WOMEN'S DOUBLES 2ND RD: Nitya Krishinda Maheswari/Greysia Polii (Ina) bt Go Ah Ra/Yoo Hae Won (Kor) 21-14, 21-14, Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn) bt Gabriela Stoeva/Stefani Stoeva (Bul) 21-16, 21-16
MIXED DOUBLES 2ND RD: Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir (Ina) bt Lee Yong Dae/Lee So Hee (Kor) 21-17, 21-12, Liu Yuchen/Tang Jinhua (Chn) bt Terry Hee/Tan Wei Han (Sin) 21-16, 22-20