Day Two Review: Carnando and Marthin stage shock
By Tom Harle at Utilita Arena Birmingham
Leo Rolly Carnando and Daniel Marthin claimed the scalp of reigning world champions Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik to rubber-stamp Indonesia’s men’s doubles dominance on the second day of action at the YONEX All England Open.
The much-loved Minions withdrew on the eve of the tournament but Indonesian fans still have plenty to cheer about in the discipline they can call their own.
With Marthin outstanding in defence, the unseeded pairing emerged 21-18 14-21 21-13 victors over the second seeds in just short of an hour of thrilling badminton.
Top seeds Muhammad Rian Ardianto and Fajar Alfian of Indonesia were made to fight for their All England lives as they came through a first-round classic.
The world No.1 pair took the first Super 1000 crown of 2023, the Malaysia Open, but were forced onto the back foot by South Korea’s Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae.
Kang and Seo won the first game 22-20 and held a six-point lead in the rubber, but the Indonesians came roaring back to claim the third 21-19 in a pulsating finish.
Alfian said: “Thanks for the support, and tomorrow will hopefully be better.”
In an all-Indonesian clash lower in the draw, Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan worked hard to beat Pramudya Kusamawardana and Yeremia Rabitan 25-23 21-18.
England’s Ben Lane and Sean Vendy rallied from 11-7 down in the second game to force a decider against familiar foes Liu Yu Chen and Ou Xuan Yi but lost the rubber 21-16.
21-year-old Kunlavut Vitidsarn, one of the sport’s fastest rising stars, announced himself on the All England stage by claiming the scalp of crowd favourite Kento Momota.
The world silver medallist’s youthful exuberance matched Momota’s experience and helped him win a tight first game 23-21, going on to win the second more comfortably, 21-15.
He reached the second round last year but the manner in which he took down the 2019 winner was the first time that the Birmingham crowd has been treated to Vitidsarn in full flow.
Vitidssarn said: “I’m really happy. I didn’t think too much about playing a top player – we had a plan, but you just have to control the performance.
“My mentality is now to attack as much as I can. Before, I always only defend and the opponent was always attacking. It made me tired. It’s really difficult to play in big stadiums if you’re always defending.”
2021 champion Lee Zii Jia showed flashes of a return to form with a clinical 21-12 21-15 win over Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin.
It has been a torrid year for the Malaysian fan favourite, who is now effectively self-coached after splitting with his trainer, amid a poor run of results on the BWF World Tour.
“For me, I just want to start over again and get my confidence back in this tournament,” he said. “Hopefully I can bounce back. So far, so good.”
In women’s singles, PV Sindhu’s relatively modest All England record and struggles against Chinese opponents continued with a 21-17 21-11 exit at the hands of Zhang Yi Man.
The Indian megastar had her best-ever year on the World Tour in 2022 but a five-month injury lay-off at the end of the year stymied her progress.
Sindhu’s power game was nowhere to be seen as she went down to the world No.17, having only reached the second round here in 2022.
“I was just winning points in patches,” she said. “I’m completely fit physically but mentally, it’s going to take some time.”
Carolina Marin marked her return to the All England with a sparky 21-19 21-17 success against Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour.
The Spaniard is playing in Birmingham for the first time in three years, a period in which she has suffered two serious injuries and lost her father who died in a car accident.
“(Injury) changes everything in your mind,” said Marin. “Now I’m getting older and competing with younger players, and it’s getting more difficult. But I feel I can compete with anyone.”
Meanwhile, third seed Tai Tzu Ying sailed past Kim Ga Eun 21-10 21-12 and pre-event favourite Akane Yamaguchi was equally emphatic in beating Mia Blichfeldt 21-9 21-10.
In women’s doubles Apriyani Rahayu, returning for her first All England without Olympic gold medal-winning partner Greysia Polli, advanced to the second round with new partner Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti, beating Brazil’s Jaqueline and Samia Lima 21-12 21-14.
2020 champions Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota booked their second round spot after Scotland’s Julie MacPherson and Ciara Torrance retired at 21-10 11-3.
Elsewhere, Arisa Higashino and Yuta Watanabe made a smooth start in their bid to make another slice of All England history in mixed doubles.
Watanabe and Higashino are aiming for a landmark third straight title and were largely untroubled in a 21-17 21-17 win over Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet.
“I’m just delighted to be able to play on this stage again,” said Watanabe, who in 2021 became the first player in 20 years to win All England titles in two disciplines.
“We are the only ones who have been given the opportunity and chance to obtain the title three years in a row. We would like to do our best.”
There was devastation for England’s Greg Mairs and Jenny Moore who went from 11-3 up to lose 21-19 in the deciding game against Kim Won Ho and Jeong Na Eum.
Tickets for the 2023 YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships are on sale now. Click here to find out more.