He may be almost a veteran in badminton men’s singles at age 27 but the top seed at the SKYCITY New Zealand Badminton Open, Simon Santoso of Indonesia proved his worth as he moved through to the second round of the singles with a straight game victory over Lin Yu Hsien from Taipei.
The former world No3 who has a current ranking of 21 will play countryman Arif Ramadhan in the second round of the US$50,000 tournament and is joined by other seeds such as No2 Jen Hao Hsu(Taipei), Korean 12th seed Ji Hoon Hong and seventh seed Wisnu Yuli Prasetyo from Indonesia who took over an hour to score a three game victory over Malaysia’s Kwong Beng Chan.
However while Santoso looked good in his win, Tian Houwei (China) the talented former junior world champion and winner of the weekend’s big Australian Open, was knocked out in the first round of the men’s singles beaten by tournament fifth seed and world No44 Anand Pawar from India 21-15 21-19 in 39 minutes. The Chinese player looking slightly bemused at times as Pawar attacked the net aggressively and never gave him a chance to settle into his rhythm.
James Eunson was one of the early Kiwi players to move into the second round with a win over another local, James Curtain in straight games while Joe Wu managed a good fight but eventually fell short against Malaysia’s Beng Hong Kuan. TJ Weistra had an entertaining loss to Riichi Takeshita (Japan) who has done well in New Zealand in the past and national singles champion Michael Fowke lost to Chia Wan from Chinese Taipei.
Day two will see world No19 Hsiao Ma Pai (Taipei) the women’s top seed take the court along with a full schedule of all five main draws including the five men’s doubles pairs who are ranked inside the top 20 as well as the Kiwi combination of Oliver Leydon-Davis and Kevin Dennerly-Minturn.
Leydon-Davis will play mixed with his sister, Susannah against the seventh seeds from Taipei while Dennerly-Minturn teams up with Waitakere’s Kritteka Gregory and face a Thai pair.
Play continues at the North Shore Events Centre with the finals on Sunday.