Maybank Malaysia Open 2012 Day 3: Second Round (Round of 16)
The numbers are certainly increasing as we reached Day 3 of the Maybank Malaysia Open 2012. Even the premium seats were about half full.
Compared to the first 2 days, there were louder cheers and support from the crowd for their favourite players.
Interestingly, famous badminton players like Peter Gade, Taufik Hidayat and Lin Dan had great support from the Malaysian fans.
The Malaysian crowd strongly cheered for Peter and Taufik.
Later on at the press conference, Peter went on to say that he always loved playing at the Malaysia Open because the enthusiastic support from the crowd reflects the badminton spirit.
Peter Gade (DEN) v Kenichi Tago (JPN)
The first interesting match of Round 16 of the Maybank Malaysia Open 2012 featured a men singles match between badminton veteran Peter Gade and the young 2010 All England runner up, Kenichi Tago.
Who had the advantage?
Peter Gade is still very fit for his age (34 years old).
Despite that, Kenichi Tago was fit, young and very agile badminton player.
The only thing the young Japanese was lacking was experience, consistency, and precision in his shots.
When Kenichi plays at his best form, he can be a huge challenge to any world class player.
There were instances where he was capable of forcing even the world no.1 Lee Chong Wei into a tough rubber set.
At the 2010 All England Championships, Kenichi almost took the title from Chong Wei. It was interesting to see whether he could reproduce that form.
In the first game, Peter grabbed every opportunity he could, ending rallies with much confidence.
Peter did not produce high clears or lifts unnecessarily. This kept the shots as flat as possible to pressure Kenichi Tago. He used many attacking clears, drop shots and smashes.
These attacks worked very well against Kenichi. However, the Japanese player began to get in the game and defended several shots successfully.
He defended so well to the point that he took the lead towards the end of the first game. Unfortunately he couldn’t hold on to the lead, and allowed Peter to secure the victory for the first game.
In the second game, the rallies were much longer.
Both players went for a safer option and did not opt for an offensive playing style. Both produced defensive clears back and forth, which meant the rallies lasted longer.
Peter’s fitness was being tested by Kenichi in this game. He “invited” Peter to attack most of the time, holding a defensive stance throughout the game.
He tried to force Peter to attack and make errors.
He established a strong position and eventually took a lead. In the end he widened the score gap and took the game at 21-11.
The Japanese continued to take the lead in the third game.
As for Peter, we could see a number of desperate smashes. Those smashes were aimed at the sidelines but went well WIDE outside the court. Kenichi continued to dominate the third game.
Unfortunately for Peter Gade, Kenichi will proceed to the quarter finals of the tournament as he took the match down at 19-21, 21-11, and 21-16.
Taufik Hidayat v Nguyen Tien Minh
In this match, Tien Minh was expected to put up a good fight against former Badminton World and Olympic champion, Taufik Hidayat.
Tien Minh’s competitive advantage in this game was his higher stamina as compared to Taufik.
Taufik proved he still had it in him when he widened the score gap at the start of the first game.
The Indonesian’s smashes were nicely placed towards the singles sidelines.
Tien Minh couldn’t do much when Taufik fired those accurate smashes.
Tien Minh seemed comfortable moving around the court as Taufik made him work hard for the shuttle.
It was not enough however as Taufik intelligently forced Tien Minh out of position on several occasions. This forced weak return shots from the Vietnamese player.
Tien Minh played a very straight forward game. He attacked when he had the chance and cleared when he wanted to recover.
Taufik was simply toying with Tien Minh by forcing him around the four corners of the court.
Tien Minh smashes were easily defended by Taufik.
I initially thought that Taufik would struggle because of his age. His fitness was definitely not as high as his opponent.
However, Taufik executed some shots which were relatively demanding in terms of fitness. Yet, it did not seem to tire him.
Taufik Hidayat cruised through in 2 straight games at 21-11, 21-14.
Lee Chong Wei (MAS) v Kazushi Yamada (JPN)
The world no.1 Lee Chong Wei took on Kazushi Yamada during Day 3 of the Maybank Malaysia Open 2012.
Chong Wei’s opponent was Kazushi Yamada, ranked third in Japan (after Sho Sasaki and Kenichi Tago).
Kazushi was put under heavy siege as Chong Wei at the start of the game. He couldn’t climb back into the game.
Amazingly Kazushi somehow managed to build up his confidence.
He took the lead against Chong Wei and widened the score gap. Kazushi was up by 11-4 at the mid game interval. Lee Chong Wei was making a couple of unforced errors.
Interestingly, the second game was a thriller. Lee Chong Wei decided that he had to do something to turn the tables after the wide lead by Kazushi.
The intensity increased dramatically after the mid-game interval as Chong Wei battled hard to establish a lead. Both players dived athletically to retrieved shots.
Chong Wei’s remarkable efforts to defend his championship title at the Malaysian Open was successful. He got the momentum back on his side and turned the game around.
The second match was not the easiest for Chong Wei, but as expected by badminton fans, the world no.1 defeated Kazushi Yamada in 2 straight games.
The score was 21-8, 21-18.
The Main Highlight of the Day
Lin Dan of China was eliminated by young Danish player Jan O Jorgensen!
Therefore we will not be seeing a clash between Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei in this Maybank Malaysia Open 2012.
We witnessed Lin Dan evading the finals of the Badminton Malaysian Open for so many years.
It was said that Lin Dan was affected by his 2006 phobia at the Malaysia Open, where Lee Chong Wei fought back to win 7 straight points when Lin Dan had the game point!
Lin Dan may have been knocked out of the Malaysia Open finals this time in 2012, but I don’t think he was intending to lose to the Dane in the second round of the tournament.
Tell me what you think!
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