Players from around the world congregate in Auckland this week as the YONEX North Harbour International 2019 gets underway. With plenty of New Zealand and Australian interest, Auckland welcomes players from England, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mynamar and more…
The BWF Future Series opened with the men’s singles, which has attracted an entry of 63 players including the world number 64 and first seed, Tien Minh Nguyen from Vietnam. Home players Daxxon Vong and Tony Fang opened up proceedings and secured a first-round win against their opponents:
- Daxxon Vong (NZL) vs Lauti Naániumotu (TGA) 21-10 21-9
- Tony Fang (NZL) vs Farouk Hassan (ENG) 21-12 21-12
Following on from a successful VICTOR Oceania Mixed Team Championships campaign, singles player Ronan Ho-Yagues made significant contributions to New Caledonia’s bronze medal finish. The 18-year-old appeared to gain more momentum in the second game, but eventually lost in two games:
- Ricky Cheng (AUS) vs Ronan Ho-Yagues (NCL) 21-10 21-16
We saw plenty of shock exits in the first round of the men’s singles, with the third, fourth, seventh and eighth seeds knocked out in the first round:
- Oscar Lin (NZL) vs Chun Kar Lung  (ENG) 22-20 21-13
- Riga Oud (NZL) vs Hin Shun Wong  (ENG) 21-12 17-21 21-18
- Runze Yan (AUS) vs Duc Phat Le  (VIE) 21-12 12-21 21-6
- Gu Junfeng (CHN) vs Pit Seng Low  (AUS) 21-6 21-10
However, Lin didn’t manage to capitalise on his first-round win after losing against China’s Gao Zhengze in the second round 21-6 21-5
“I wasn’t expecting much from the first round as I felt like the underdog but I was patient throughout the match and managed to come away with a win against the seventh seed. However, the Chinese player was much faster and put me under a lot of pressure throughout the match.”- Oscar Lin.
Riga Oud later went on to win against Australia’s Shi Hang Lai to secure a place in the third round 21-17 21-7
“I’m over the moon with my singles performances today. I gave it my best and it meant a lot to win. I intend to stay positive in the third round and just want to enjoy the game and play well again.” – Riga Oud, New Zealand.
There were plenty of powerful displays of dominance in the women’s singles with some emphatic wins from the international players:
- Qiu Ziying (CHN) vs Catelyn Rozario (NZL) 21-7 21-7
- Wang Siqi (CHN) vs Rachel Li (NZL) 21-8 21-6
- Wu Luoyu (CHN) vs Sophie Li (NZL) 21-5 21-3
- Qin Jinjing (AUS) vs Mele Lingisiva Kei (TGA) 21-3 21-5
Meanwhile, in the mixed doubles, China showed their prowess and celebrated huge wins against New Zealand’s mixed doubles pairings throughout the evening:
- Binrong Zhang/Fangfang Hou (CHN) vs Adam Jeffrey/Catelyn Rozario (NZL) 21-13 21-11
- Zhang Hanyu/Pan Hanxiao (CHN) vs Carlos Luna/Ashley Tan (NZL) 21-5 21-9
- Dai Zhiyi/Wang Hui (CHN) vs Joshua Feng/Shaunna Li (NZL) 21-10 21-12
Tonga put in a sterling performance in their mixed doubles game, narrowly losing out to a New Zealand pair.
- Ben Parkinson/Ella Smith (NZL) vs Lauti Na’aniumotu/Litea Tatafu (TGA) 23-21 21-15
Smith was the first seed heading into the mixed doubles event at the recent VICTOR Oceania Junior Individual Championships in Melbourne – leaving the Tongan’s with a promising result and plenty to reflect on in the future.
“I’m happy with our result and it gives us hope to know we can compete with these pairs. We were good at finding the space in the first game but we know we need to be faster to improve our game.”- Litea Tatafu.
This week’s event also counts towards the inaugural Oceania Tour – a recently announced initiative that encourages regional players to support their local events, while accruing points towards the Oceania Tour. The winners in each discipline will be awarded with funding to contribute towards international training and competition costs. More information on the programme, which is supported by the Badminton World Federation, is available here.
All of the results from day one at the YONEX North Harbour International 2019, along with the schedule for day two, are available on Tournament Software.
Court four will be live-streamed throughout the event – available to watch on the Badminton New Zealand YouTube channel.