They don’t come any bigger then this. And that was what Rajiv Ouseph felt after defeating Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen in the second round of the Yonex World Championship at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium this afternoon.
Rajiv, coached by Denmark’s former great Kenneth Jonassen, triumphed 21-12,25-23 in a pulsating 34-minute clash that had the spectators at the edge of their seats.
Jorgenson was the second seeded men’s singles player to crash out today after Japan’s Kenichi Tago, seeded 12, was sent crashing out by Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, 22-20,21-19. And he was followed by Malaysia’s Wong Choon Hann, seeded 16, lost to Kazushi Yamada, 21-17,16-21,18-21.
Two Indonesian players who were seeded, Sony Dwi Kuncoro (6) and Simon Santoso (8) are also out due to injuries, while Chetan Anand of India who was the 14th seed lost to Ashton Chen of Singapore in the first round.
World number one Lee Chong Wei had earlier defeated fellow Malaysian Mohd Hafiz Hashim 21-16,21-16 to move into the third round.
Bao Chunlai of China defeated David Snider of Canada and will play against Lin Dan in the third round. Though Chunlai knows he has a tough task ahead, he remained confident.
“It will be an interesting match as we have played against each other both at the international and domestic level,” said Chunlai.
“Of course Lin Dan is the favourite but I intend to make him earn each point as I too harbour hopes of landing the coveted world title.”
Coming back to giantkiller Rajiv with regards to his third round clash with World number one, Lee Chong Wei, Rajiv said that he was looking forward to the match.
The duo have met twice before with the record at 2-0 in favour of the Malaysian, with the last win being recorded in the Malaysian Open in January this year.
“The pressure is on Chong Wei to win so really I am just going out there and enjoy myself tomorrow,” said Rajiv.
“No Malaysian has won the world title and Chong Wei carries the hope of the entire nation, so I wish him the best as I intend to go for a win.
For Chong Wei, defeating Hafiz, who was his roommate, was not as easy as the score suggested. This was the eight meeting between the two Malaysians at international level and with the win Chong Wei extended the winning margin to 6-2.
“We have played each other so many times and it’s always difficult when one of us has to lose,” said Chong Wei.
“We have shared rooms together and it will not be any different tonight as Hafiz helps me out in reading opponents as well. We exchange notes and hopefully his input will help me progress further.”
But the spectators in the stadium were awaiting the home favourite, Pi Hongyan to take the centre stage.
And she did not disappoint as she turned on her class to romp home 21-8, 21-8 winner over Elena Prus of Ukraine.
Hongyan, who won the bronze at the World Championships in Hyderabad, will now take on Kim Hi Moon of South Korea in the third round.
“To be honest even I am affected by the humid conditions in the venue and I think it will not be easy for all players,” said Hongyan.
“It will take getting used to but I am sure with the home crowd backing me, I will be able to lift my game no matter what the playing conditions are like.
“It will be more technical from the players aspect as we need to plan our strategy well in these conditions. But it’s the same for all so we just have to get used to it.”