It is a testament to the strength of the fields at the OSIM BWF Superseries Premier events that a first round match could replay a final from the Yonex BWF World Championships but the strength in the match in question was with the English-Scottish combination of Chris Adcock / Imogen Bankier (pictured right), who ousted world #1’s Zhang/Zhao of China in straight games.
“I think we’ve worked a lot on our weaknesses which had let us down at the World Championships,” said Bankier afterward. “We played a style which had worked really well through the tournament at the Worlds and then we came up against Zhang and Zhao and they are just so good and they kind of unpicked us.
“We’ve gone home and practiced a lot, especially on our defence and we did that really well today. I think that was the main difference.
“In the second game, at 13-2 down, we were so relaxed. We were just thinking ‘let’s try and get some points on the board’, we didn’t want to lose so easily. Then once we got back to 8, we were back in it and we started to get more confident just as Zhao Yunlei (pictured left) maybe lost confidence.”
“After the worlds, it was just such a unique thing for us, with the home crowd and everything. Then we went into other tournaments and starting off it was often empty and that so it was different but still, we know we’ve improved a lot.
“The Worlds gave us the belief that we can beat all the pairs. The cheering was a boost but in the end we still went on court and beat them and we’ve not had the good results since, just one or two. So we’re trying to emulate that now and our ultimate goal is to go to London and once we get back there, it’s going to be the same thing again with the crowd support.
“We’re the top British pair now, in terms of Olympic qualifying but two others are not far behind so we want to break into the top 8 to be safe so if we can do really well and reach the quarter- or semi-finals here or somewhere, that will be best.
“This is so different. Last January, we had won three International Challenges in a row so we felt good but then Chris got sick and we had to pull out of the Malaysia and Korea Opens so it was a bad start to the year.
“We had some really good training in December and it’s helped us to feel really fresh coming in here.”
Those Europeans with tougher schedules in December had more troubles on opening day in Seoul. Peter Gade (pictured right) lost in two to Du Pengyu of China, while his compatriots Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen were in danger against young Koreans Shin/Kim before pulling it out in three.
Mixed doubles, especially, continued to provide surprises, throughout the day, though, as Thailand lost its two top pairs and Indonesia lost one while Ahmad/Natsir survived a scare. Late in the day, the Koreans finally got in on the action when Ko/Eom ousted fifth-seeded Chen/Cheng of Chinese Taipei.
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