Text written by Aaron Wong/Crown Group Australia Badminton Open 2019
MS: Kantaphon Wangcharoen (THA) beat Kenta Nishimoto (CHN)  19-21, 21-18, 22-20.
Thailand’s world #17 refused to be denied a second round berth and took 84 minutes to dispatch the Japanese fourth seed Kenta Nishimoto.
As the match progressed Wangcharoen thrilled the crowd with his signature dives which only saved the situation half the time but signaled his utter commitment his opponent. Nishimoto was perpetually playing catch up in the rubber because speed and energy had left his legs.
MS: Jonatan Christie (INA) beat Lu Guangzu (CHN) 21-18, 21-15.
The defending champion and his opponent were expectedly solid and steady but being so similar meant each would over-press on the strength of their shots in trying to gain the edge.
This pattern continued into the second game but Lu made extra forced errors when he framed defensive shots at critical moments.
WD: Ayaka Sakuramoto / Yukiko Takahata (JPN) beat Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto (JPN) 21-17, 15-21, 24-22.
Women’s doubles was at times looking like losing its defending champion too, with mixed and both singles accounted for already.
World #15 Sakuramoto/Takahata managed to stay a whisker ahead in the first game but fell into sizeable deficit early in the second due to adjusting to uneven lighting on Court 3.
In the rubber, Takahata stepped forward to take the initiative for her side many a time against their world top 10 compatriots to squeeze out a victory in 83 minutes.
WS: Li Xuerui (CHN) beat Sayaka Takahashi (JPN) 22-20, 18-21, 21-18
London Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui took her own time to adjust to Sayaka Takahashi’s greater agility especially on changing the direction of smashes.
Once accustomed to the pattern of offence, Li began reeling Takahashi backwards and forwards from the net using deep lifts. Every time the Japanese was forced to end the point lying on the floor from exhaustion, unable to touch the last shuttle, the crowd applauded for the sentimental Chinese favourite is returning to her best post knee surgery.
WS: Michelle Li (CAN) beat Gregoria Mariska Tanjung (INA) 13-21, 21-18, 21-13
Michelle Li who was seeded first last year initially looked as though she was on course for a repeat first round exit.
Mid-second game onwards, the Canadian managed to summon smoothness in her shot-making. Her signature cross-court cut drop-shots began appearing as instant winners.
Li’s extra height, reach, and physical strength gave her the advantage over Tanjung in the rubber, who at one point did the splits but still didn’t retrieve the shuttle.
MD: Liao Min Chun / Su Cheng Hin (TPE) beat Aaron Chia / Soh Wooi Yik (MAL) 21-12, 15-21, 21-15
Frequently, it was a battle of who could maintain the flat drive with everybody’s quadriceps getting a workout.
Su Cheng Hin made the difference in the first game through swift interceptions but the Malaysians were quick learners and adjusted accordingly to take the second game.
In the rubber, the Taiwanese treated every point as precious from the get go. Liao spared no energy or speed in addressing the shuttle. Again, the Malaysians made useful adjustments after the interval. Soh added depth to his own defence but Liao’s early diligence and continued offence was too big a gulf to close.
The full draw and results are available on Tournament Software.