TAUFIK-LAST MAN STANDING

Taufik Hidayat was on the brink of exit before recovering to book his place in the third round of the Yonex World Championships at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris today.
He was not the only player who struggled in the morning session as in the women’s singles, Saina Nehwal of India also needed three sets to subdue Chinese Taipei’s Chen Hsiao Huan, winning 20-22,21-15,21-8 in 47 minutes.
“It was not easy getting into gear as the last I played on this courts was on Sunday. So the three day wait was bound to affect me in some ways,” said Saina.
“All due respect to my opponent though who made me work hard for the win.”
The Indonesian, who is the number five seed dug into his reserves to overcome a tenacious Hsieh Yu Hsin of Chinese Taipei 19-21, 21-19,21-9. And the fact that he was the sole Indonesian left in the fray, following Simon Santoso’s decision to pull out of the second round due to a lower back injury, added more pressure on Taufik to deliver.
Taufik was left trailing 16-20 in the first set and though he staged a late rally to reduce the deficit to 19-20, he sent the shuttle out on the baseline to hand the first set to Hsieh.
And he was on the verge of exit as Hsieh fought back from 16-19 to draw level, but a line call in favour of Taufik assured the match went into a decider. And Taufik had no difficulty in the third.
“Although it is my second match here, I still have problem getting adjusted to the court conditions,” said Taufik.
“But I was never worried as I knew I could win. Now I have to prepare for the next match and recover fast.
Chinese ace Lin Dan though had no such problems as he carved out a 21-13,21-15 win over Finland’s Henri Hurskainen. He will most likely play against his counterpart Bao Chunlai who is expected to overcome the challenge of David Snider in a later match.
Lin Dan and Bao Chunlai have met 23 times in the past with Lin Dan winning 18 of the encounters.
“We both know each others game and it will be close,” said Lin Dan on his anticipated clash against Chunlai.
“It was a good workout for me today and I am looking towards the later stages of the tournament with renewed confidence.”
Also booking his place in the third round on the men’s singles was Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh who defeated Raul Must of Estonia, 21-14,21-10 in 42 minutes.
Nguyen will take on either South Korea’s Park Sung Hwan or Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov in the third round.
“ I have beaten him before but that means nothing now. It is the result of our match tomorrow that matters,” said Nguyen.
“ It will be close no doubt, but my target is to make the last eight and you can expect me to run for every shot.
Nguyen is also looking at a good outing in the Asian Games after his first round exit in Doha four years ago where he was beaten by Simon Santoso.
“ Making the quarterfinals here will no doubt give me the added confidence going into the Asian Games this November.”