An early contender for match of the day on Thursday at the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Badminton Open was the very first one played on court 3, with number 3 seed Jonatan Christie
(Indonesia) up against a former top seed and 2017 NZ Open runner up in world number 32 Wang Tzu Wei (Chinese Taipei).
In front of an enthusiastic and engaged crowd, Christie was fast out of the blocks and led 5-0, looking like he would
run away with the match. But after taking the first game 21-14, Christie appeared to tire and it was a motivated Wang
who responded to push it to a decider with a 21-14 win in the second game.
That went point for point and it was only a final surge from Christie that saw him edge into the quarter finals, 21-16
in the third.
“It was a very tough match; he is a very good player,” said a tired but elated Christie. “I know coming in to the game
that he was 4-1 on me in our head to head but today I had to concentrate not on the past, the focus had to be on today
as this was better than before. I played very well – we both did. For now, I must rest and refocus for tomorrow.
“This is the first time that we are playing for points for Tokyo, Indonesia has three very good players and I know I
must keep my ranking at 8 or above, it is not easy, but I will try. I was runner up here last year, this year I want to
focus step by step, tomorrow I will give my best.”
If this is a sign of things to come today, fans are in for a treat with a lineup to rival finals day on any previous
year. Tickets are available online or at the door, with the highlights today (with estimated match times in brackets)
• Former world number one Lee Hyun Il (Korea) up against number 6 seed Ng Ka Long Angus (HK) in men’s singles
• Kiwis Riga Oud and Daxxon Vong up against number 5 seeds Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin (Chinese Taipei) in men’s
• Top seeds and world number one women’s doubles combination Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota up against Vivian
Hoo Hap and Cheng Wen (Malaysia) (5:20pm)
• Antony Ginting (Indonesia) the top seed in men’s singles plays Chong Wei Feng (Malasyia) as the Indonesians look
to dominate the men’s singles (6:00pm)
• Women’s top seed Akane Yamaguchi (Japan) plays Wei Yaxin (China) in the women’s singles in a match sure to draw
a big crowd (7:00pm)
• Defending men’s singles champion Lin Dan (China) will again draw a huge crowd when he plays Sai Praneeth (India)
For the draw for day three, CLICK HERE