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KOREA OPEN R32 – Defending underdog comes up short

  • Thu, 14 Sep 2017 18:44

Two-time defending men’s doubles champion Yoo Yeon Seong made a special appearance today in the first round but he and Lim Khim Wah dropped a tight contest to Japan’s Hoki/Kobayashi.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Seoul.  Photos: Yves Lacroix / Badmintonphoto (live)

Like Kim Ha Na a day earlier, Korea’s Yoo Yeon Seong stepped on court for his first round match as a defending underdog.  He was the two-time defending champion but that was with the now-retired Lee Yong Dae.  With today’s partner Lim Khim Wah (pictured), Yoo had had no playing experience, no ranking, and next to no training.

The international combination belied these disadvantages by sneaking up on Japan’s Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi (pictured botttom) to snatch the first game.  The world #22 pair took the second handily and had a 19-14 lead in the decider before Yoo and Lim caught up and forced the extra points.  The second wind blew calm soon enough, though, as the Japanese pair won on their second match point.

“Because this our first tournament together, I don’t really know my own partner’s style very well yet,” said Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured) after the match.  “We were just concentrating on playing the match together and having fun on court.  It’s such a new partnership that we haven’t yet set any goals.

“We haven’t made plans past next week’s Japan Open yet.  We’ll try this partnership for now and if it goes well, if we can get some good results, then we’ll think about taking it from there.

“We hardly trained together at all.  Maybe one or two days.  It’s hard to set something like that up.

“We got to know each other from being on the same team in the Malaysia Purple League.  At this point, the other Korean guys aren’t cleared to compete [outside the national team].

“This was my first time in a tournament like this in about four months so getting back on court it was fun but then again, we lost, so that’s not so much fun.  In order to win in the future, I’ve got to figure out, well, in particular I have to figure out how Khim Wah plays and how to work best with him.”

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