Saina NehwalBeginning with day one, the first ever BWF Destination Dubai World Super-series Finals was expected to be an explosive battle between world’s top men and women badminton stars. The draw was unkind to several players with the first day morning’s action beginning with an all-Korean clash between Men’s Doubles finalists of BWF World Championships. Lee Yong Dae and his partner, Yoo Yeon Seong were drawn in the same group as their team-mates, Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Choel. This group of death also included Indonesia’s defending Finals champions, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan and China’s Chai Biao/Hong Wei. Apart from the men’s doubles, the deadly draw also had Group A for men’s singles featuring world champion and strong contender Chen Long, Son Wan Ho of Korea, Kenichi Tago of Japan and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark. All these stars had the capability of causing major upsets, when they are at their best. In the other men’s singles group, there were other formidable players, including Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark, Kidambi Srikanth of India, Kento Momota of japan and Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia. The draw was equally interesting for the women’s singles players as top seed, Wang Shixian of China was drawn in Group A with India’s Saina Nehwal, Korea’s, Sung Ji Hyun and Bae Yeon Ju. In Group B, there are players of the caliber of Wang Yihan of China with Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand; last year’s beaten finalist, Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei and the emerging Japanese sensation Akane Yamaguchi.

While Players and officials have kept expressing their views on the tournament draw, the tournament has already got underway at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai on Wednesday. In the morning session, Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus has caused an upset by beating the in-form Korean Son Wan Ho 21-13 21-16 in 42 minutes. Vittinghus was rated as the underdog in Men’s Singles Group A and he had a 0-4 record against Son Wan Ho. But that didn’t bother the Dane as he played coolly against the highly rated Korean. Vittinghus himself had admitted earlier that he wasn’t the favorite but he produced a steady game against Son. The Korean could not trouble Vittinghus at any stage of the match and suffered an unexpected loss.

In Group B, Vittinghus’ compatriot Jan O Jorgensen also had a great start as he overpowered last year’s runner-up Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia 21-15 21-19. Jorgensen spent a little time in getting into his grove and eventually sailed through against Sugiarto. In other results of the morning session on Wednesday; Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun defeated teammate Bae Yeon Ju 21-15, 21-11 in women’s singles; Chinese women double team of Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei defeated Luo Ying/Luo Yu 21-17 18-21 21-11 and in another women’s doubles match, Jung Kyung Eun/Kim Ha Na defeated Chang Ye Na/Kim So Yeong 21-12 9-21 21-15. In Men’s Doubles Group A, Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong beat World Champions Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Choel 21-14 21-11 in 35 minutes. It was the second successive victory for the pair.

In the second session Indonesia suffered two major blows as Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan went out of the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals due to injuries. After Maheswari developed cramps in the third game of the Women’s Doubles Group B match, Ahsan had a recurrence of a back injury that caused the retirement of the defending Men’s Doubles champions against China’s Chai Biao/Hong Wei. The top seeded Men’s Singles player Chen Long had an easy game against Japan’s Kenichi Tago, whom he beat 21-11 21-14. The Japanese tried to fight but Chen Long proved to be too good in the end.

Later in the session, India’s Saina Nehwal produced a fine game against China’s world no.2 Wang Shixian and prevailed against the Chinese in 58 minutes with the score of 21-17, 21-18. Nehwal derived vociferous support from the Dubai crowd and emerged the winner in the end. In other women’s singles match, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon wilted against Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying in three games. Tai Tzu Ying played great badminton against Intanon and won the match 21-13, 18-21, 21-10. Intanon’s fellow Thai players Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam also lost in the Mixed Doubles opener to Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen of Denmark, 21-5, 24-22.