Day one of the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open 2019 started with mixed success for Oceania players in the qualification stages before the main draw of the mixed doubles got underway from 2pm this afternoon.
The main draw included ten pairs from Australia and New Zealand – with the reigning regional champions, Simon Leung and Gronya Somerville, outright qualifying for the main draw alongside Maika Phillips and Anona Pak awarded with the wild card entry into the main draw. Meanwhile, three Oceania pairs came through the qualification sages this morning and four others were promoted from qualifying following last-minute withdrawals from the tournament.
Australia’s reigning regional champions and current leaders of the Oceania Tour rankings, Simon Leung and Gronya Somerville were one of the first pairs to open the main draw competition, against the seventh seeds from Germany, Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich. The first game remained in close contention as the Australians got off to a good start and lead for much of the first half, but a run of four consecutive points towards then end of the first end saw the Germans take the game. Lamsfuss and Herttrich maintained their winning momentum and stormed away with the overall win in 28 minutes:
- Mark Lamsfuss/Isabel Herttrich (GER) vs Simon Wing Hang Leung/Gronya Somerville (AUS)
“First set we played pretty well, we had our chances towards the end especially when we were down maybe 19-16 and caught up 19-18 but with some unforced errors we lost the set. Second set we couldn’t play to the same intensity as we did in the first. With Sudirman Cup being or next tournament, We need to go back and train and become confident in tight situation like the end of the first set and learn to take our chances.” – Simon Wing Hang Leung, Australia
New Zealand youngsters, Evan Wong and Jacqueline Yu faced the experience of Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-Huei and Hsu Ya Ching. Ching is currently ranked 32 in the world and the talented pair proved too strong for the kiwi pairing:
- Lee Jhe-Huei/Hsu Ya Ching (TPE) vs Evan Wong/Jacqueline Yu (NZL) 21-6 21-4
“It was good experience playing world class calibre players; it was insightful to see how their speed and power faired against ours, really motivating us to keep training harder.” – Evan Wong, New Zealand
Oceania was always guaranteed at least two pairs making it through to the second round in the mixed doubles as two matches consisted of Australia and New Zealand oppositions, with Dhanny Oud and Jasmin Ng (New Zealand) and Mitchell Wheller and Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen (Australia) winning their matches in two to progress through to the next round:
- Dhanny Oud/Jasmin Chung Man Ng (NZL) vs Joshua Feng/Shaunna Li (NZL) 21-15 21-10
- Mitchell Wheller/Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen (AUS) vs Jonathan Curtin/Erena Calder-Hawkins (NZL) 21-17 21-14
“It was exciting to get through the first round of New Zealand open, we focused on staying calm and keeping pressure on the net. For tomorrow we would carry on with the same mindset and hopefully learn a lot from the opponents.” – Jasmin Ng, New Zealand
“We’re happy to have won our first round of mixed here in New Zealand. We gradually found the right intensity and managed to stay ahead throughout the match. We hope to carry that momentum into the second round on Thursday.” – Mitchell Wheller
Finally, New Zealand’s wild card entry into the mixed doubles came in the form of Maika Phillips and Anona Pak. The kiwi pairing made a valiant effort against the Indonesian pairing – who are respectively ranked at 43 and 26 in the world – and despite staying in close contention throughout the first half of both games, the Indonesian opponents eventually ran away with the win:
- Akbar Bintang Cahyono/Annisa Saufika (INA) vs MAika Phillips/Anona Pak (NZL) 21-15 21-17
Three other New Zealand mixed doubles pairs will compete in the first round of the main draw tomorrow morning from 9am, with a number of Oceania players competing in all other disciplines throughout the day – including Abhinav Manota and Lin Dan competing for a place in the second round from 6.40pm.
Keep up to date with the latest draws and results on Tournament Software.