Lights go out, but world No. 1 shuttler Tai Tzu-ying shines
Taiwanese ace resumes normal service after seven-minute stoppage, prevailing 21-15, 21-18 over her unseeded Chinese rival Chen
The intensive match between Taiwan's world No. 1 shuttler Tai Tzu-ying and China's unseeded Chen Xiaoxin was halted for seven minutes when half the lights on Court 4 went out at the Singapore Badminton Open at Singapore Indoor Stadium yesterday.
The light malfunctioned mid-rally during the second set, with Tai leading 14-12. The two continued playing, with only the left side of the court lit until the point ended.
"I wasn't sure whether we should continue. But I didn't see the referee halting the game, so I continued," Tai said.
The Singapore Badminton Open organisers stated that a fuse blew, causing a trip for the right-sideline lights to go out.
They hastily resolved the issue and turned the lights back on for the game to resume after seven minutes.
"I had to start warming up again which isn't what happens normally. But when it happens, I definitely had to adapt quickly," said Tai, who eventually prevailed 21-15, 21-18.
She was also momentarily frustrated, as she was unable to review the linesmen's calls with the "hawk-eye" system available only at Court 1.
"It's unavoidable that you get poor calls from umpires sometimes. I was hoping to challenge some of the decisions, but I had no choice, so I could only respect the umpire's decision.
"It's something that's quite common before the hawk-eye was available (in 2014). So, we still have to focus on what we do on the court," added Tai, who faces South Korea's Sung Ji Hyun in the quarter-finals today.
Tai's reaction was unlike China's Lin Dan, who retired from his match against Danish giant Viktor Axelsen in just 14 minutes on Wednesday, after he disagreed with two calls by Indian umpire Girish Natu.
However, the former world No. 1 cited a spasm on his left thigh and that he needed to rest for the Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, China, in two weeks.
Japanese star Kento Momota, who struggled in the first round against India's Sai Praneeth, bounced back to defeat another Indian, HS Prannoy, yesterday. Momota, the world No. 1, sealed the game with 10 consecutive points to win 21-11, 21-11.
Prannoy, the world No. 21, conceded that he made poor decisions with "unnecessary risks that gave (Momota) five to six easy points".
Momota praised his rival as a "well-rounded player with good shots and high endurance".
He will face a third player from India, the sixth-seeded Srikanth Kidambi, in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, in the men's doubles, Singapore's Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Loh Kean Hean came close against Danish pair Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen but lost 21-13, 22-20.
The first set saw the local pair well defeated but they recovered. The shift in confidence came after a long rally that ended with a Chrisnanta smash that sent the crowd of 4,400 cheering and clapping vociferously.
"We had more excitement to play here, more 'fire' because when we hear the claps, it's like a booster. Every clap counts for us," said Chrisnanta.
"It was a very big crowd (compared to) a few years ago, so it's very fortunate to see them here for badminton. It means that Singapore badminton is growing," added Loh.
However, the pair failed to maintain their composure, despite holding the Danes to 20-20 and conceded the deciding point with a double-touch by both Loh and Chrisnanta.
Another Singaporean, Grace Chua, lost 21-6, 21-11 to Japan's Akane Yamaguchi.
Her compatriots Jaslyn Hooi and Crystal Wong lost 21-6, 21-10 to China's Liu Xuanxuan and Xia Yuting in the women's doubles.
Men's singles, Round of 16
- Kento Momota (x1) bt HS Prannoy 21-11, 21-11
- Viktor Axelsen (x3) v K. Wangcharoen 21-14, 15-21, 21-12
- Chen Long (x4) bt Parupalli Kashyap 21-19, 15-21, 21-16
Women's singles, Round of 16
- Tai Tzu-ying (x1) bt Chen Xiaoxin 21-15, 21-18
- Akane Yamaguchi (x3) bt Grace Chua 21-16, 21-11
Men's singles, q-finals
- Kento Momota (x1) v Kidambi Srikanth (x6)
- Chou Tien-chen (x2) v Sameer Verma
- Viktor Axelsen (x3) v Jonatan Christie
- Chen Long (x4) v Anthony Ginting (x7)
Women's singles, q-finals
- Tai Tzu-ying (x1) v Sung Ji Hyun (x7)
- Nozomi Okuhara (x2) v Saina Nehwal (x6)
- Akane Yamaguchi (x3) v Ratchanok Intanon (x5)
- PV Sindhu (x4) v Cai Yanyan