Lin Dan - Badminton Photo

CHINESE SUPERSTAR HEADLINES DAY TWO OF THE BARFOOT & THOMPSON NEW ZEALAND OPEN

CHINESE SUPERSTAR HEADLINES DAY TWO OF THE BARFOOT & THOMPSON NEW ZEALAND OPEN

Day two of the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Badminton Open features the headline act, with two-time Olympic Games gold medalist Lin Dan (China) playing his first-round singles match at 6:40pm at the North Shore Events Centre.

The tournament began on Tuesday with the final round of qualifying in all events, as well as 12 first round mixed doubles matches, played in and around the event’s official opening function that saw Northern Mystics Anna Harrison, Blues captain James Parsons and other celebrities take to the court to help raise money for Starship Foundation.

The arrival on court of the hugely popular men’s top seed however will really set the tournament alight. A star in amongst a quality field of international players with 40 top fifty ranked players or combinations.

Event Director Julie Carrel says Dan’s presence has seen ticket sales take off and the badminton community take notice.

“You only had to be at the airport on Sunday to see how big a star Lin Dan is, for the badminton world this is like having a Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic come to play, the noise and excitement at the airport was amazing, but will pale compared to the reception Lin will receive when he takes to the court for his first match.”

Dan will take on Japan’s Takuma Ueda in that first round match at 6:40pm in the feature match of the night session, one of many great games however on a packed schedule that features a number of new Zealanders in amongst some of the best players in the world.

Abhinav Manota – Badminton NZ

Wildcard Abhinav Manota (NZL) plays his first-round men’s singles match against Sourabh Verma (IND), one of a strong Indian contingent here in New Zealand.  26-year-old Manota has also made it through qualifying in the mixed doubles with Justine Villegas (NZL) and hopes that experience will help him in his singles clash.

“Now I have that match out of the way, I am feeling good,” said Manota. “The first match can be a tough one as you get used to the shuttles. My next match will be my singles, but I will have a hit again to get ready for that.”

Like Manota, Sally Fu (NZL) has also received a wildcard into the women’s singles, and lines up against Zhang Yiman (CHN) in a daunting first round clash at midday.

Fu is not alone in the main draw however, being joined by 14-year-old Shaunna Li (NZL) in the main draw. The North Harbour player is the current girls U15 singles, doubles and mixed champion and Australasian U17 girls champion. Li plays the number 7 seed Haruko Suzuki (JPN) at 10:50am.

One match to watch in the men’s doubles is the trans-Tasman affair between Oscar Guo and Dacmen Vong (NZL) and Cham and Chen (AUS), with the ANZACS doing battle at 6:10pm.

Notable matches on Wednesday, May 2nd, all matches at the North Shore Events Centre

Men’s Singles

  • Dan (CHN) v Ueda (JPN)
    • First appearance in NZ for Lin Dan, the two-time Olympic champion
  • Verma (IND) v Kuncoro (INA)
    • Kuncoro – Olympic Bronze Medalist 2004 against the #5 seed Verma
  • Hsu Jen Hao (TPE) v Ajay (IND)
    • Hsu a three-time NZ semifinalist and 2014 NZ Open runner up
  • Lee Chiuk Yiu (HKG) v Milan Ludik (CZE)
    • Lee won the NZ Open last year.
  • Abhinav Manota (NZL) v Sourabh Verma (IND)
    • Former Indian national Manota wears the silver fern against a former countryman.
  • Sugiarto (INA) v Dey (IND)
    • Sugiarto – World Championships Bronze Medalist 2014, former world #3

Women’s Singles

  • Brittney Tam (CAN) v Gregoria (INA)
    • Gregoria is current World Junior Champion and #6 seed.
  • Han Yue (TPE) v Lee Chia Hsin (CHN)
    • Han Yue – Runner Up World Junior Championships 2017.
    • Lee – #2 seed in a tough first round match that has upset written all over it.
  • Cai Yanyan (CHN) v Ruselli Hatawan (INA)
    • Cai is Bronze medalist from World Junior Championships 2017

Men’s Doubles

  • Boon (MAS)/Yoo (KOR) v Hyuk/Park (KOR)
    • Boon – Former World #1 – Two-time World Championship medalist
    • Yoo was Lee Yong Dae’s partner prior to retirement – So former World #1. 3 Time World Championships medalist
  • Oscar/Dacmen (NZL) v Cham/Chen (AUS)
    • features the young New Zealand pairing against the Aussies for Trans-Tasman bragging rights.
  • Chan/Tang (MAS) v Leung/Wheller (AUS)
    • Chan 2016 Olympics Silver Medalist in mixed doubles

Women’s Doubles

  • Ha/Yu (KOR) v Caragh and Ella (NZL)
    • Ha/Yu are current World Junior Champions against the young Kiwis
  • Aratama/Watanabe (JPN) v Goh/Hoo (MAS)
    • Aratama/Watanabe – #4 Seed
    • Vivian Hoo – Winner – 2017 NZ Open

Schedule of Play – all games at North Shore Events Centre

Full schedule and draw, CLICK HERE

Wednesday 2nd May – main draw in all events, from 10:00am

Thursday 3rd May – main draw in all events, from 2:00pm

Friday 4th May – quarterfinals, from 5:00pm

Saturday 5th May – semifinals, from 1:00pm

Sunday 6th May – finals, from 1:00pm