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BADMINTON

Chinese stars cruise to wins in Copenhagen

Chinese stars cruise to wins in Copenhagen
Chen Long is carrying China's hopes in Copenhagen. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Scanpix
Chen Long eased his way into the second round of the badminton world championship on Tuesday with a routine victory over Austrian rank outsider Luka Wraber in Copenhagen.
 
Chinese second seed Chen is carrying the burden of his country's expectations with global superstar and five-time world champion Lin Dan out of the equation in Denmark and the 25-year-old produced a solid performance to dismantle 91st-ranked Wraber 21-8, 21-10.
 
Chen's patchy form has restricted the world number two to just one title, the Korean Open in January, this season but the Chinese are pinning their hopes on him to maintain the country's dominance in the men's singles with a seventh straight title.
 
Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto, a potential semi-final opponent for Chen, never looked in trouble against Singapore's Zi Liang Derek Wong as the fifth seed recorded a 21-12, 21-14 victory to take the first step in his quest to emulate his father, Icuk, who won the world title in the Danish capital in 1983.
 
Seventh seed Son Wan-ho, though, narrowly avoided becoming the biggest casualty in the men's draw as he was forced to dig deep to see off the challenge from plucky Frenchman Brice Leverdez, who had the Korean seemingly on the ropes before Son rallied to come through a gripping contest 20-22, 21-12, 21-19.
 
Danish 10th seed Hans-Kristian Vittinghus defeated Hsu Jen-hao of Taipei 21-17, 21-11.
 
World number one Li Xuerui advanced into the last 16 of the women's tournament as the defending Olympic champion saw off  spirited resistance from Czech player Kristina Gavnholt to record a 21-13, 21-17 triumph.
 
Li lost last year's final to Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon and is keen to make amends for the painful defeat she suffered in Guangzhou.
 
"Losing (the 2013 final) was very sad – the World Championships is difficult for me," the Chinese player told bwfbadminton.org. "I have had a lot to overcome mentally, but now I have done that I come here with much more confidence." 
 
As for title-holder Intanon she was put under pressure by Spain's Beatriz Corrales early but her class eventually prevailed in a 21-18, 21-10 win.
 
Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal of India made light work of Russia's Natalia Perminova as she swept into round three courtesy of a 21-11, 21-9 rout.
 
South Korean fifth seed Sung Ji-hyun has made it as far as the third round without taking to the court at all after an initial bye was followed by a walkover while China's Han Li and Japan's Minatsu Mitani are also through to last 16.
 
There was no such luck for Thai 14th seed Nichaon Jindapon, though, who was bounced out by Indonesia's Lindaweni Fanetri.
 
Unseeded Dane Line Kjærsfeldt fell to 16th seed Minatsu Mitani of Japan 21-11, 21-10.

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MATCH-FIXING

Denmark makes racket over ‘match-fixing’ Chinese badminton players

The national association for badminton in Denmark says the sport’s world federation should punish Chinese players for a match at last week’s Fuzhou China Open which has been described as a “farce”.

Denmark makes racket over 'match-fixing' Chinese badminton players
China's Junhui Li, left, and Yuchen Liu, seen here during a different match, lost in the controversial quarter-final in Fuzhou. AP Photo/Aaron Favila/Ritzau Scanpix

Bo Jensen, director of Badminton Denmark, wants the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to take action after seeing footage of a quarter final match in which He Jiting and Ta Qiang defeated Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen in three sets.

“I am giving my support to the criticism. This is cheating, it’s match-fixing and we can’t accept it,” Jensen said to TV2 Sport.

“In our context, this is just as bad as doping, and it must be punished because if it is not, we will damage the sport’s reputation amongst fans and the many sponsors that are making huge investments at the moment,” he added.

Several Danish badminton players are reported to have been present during the match. Doubles pair Mads Pieler Kolding and Mads Conrad-Petersen lodged a complaint with tournament organisers following the match about the way it had been played.

Another player, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, later posted an update on Facebook in which he compared the match to a scandal during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, when eight players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were disqualified for deliberately trying to lose.

“This was a complete farce of a match which made me think of the London Olympics when 4 pairs deliberately tried to lose their matches. I kid you not, it was this bad,” Vittinghus wrote, citing errors in play that “just (don’t) happen at this level”.

“Difficult to get hard evidence, but if you have watched a bare minimum of world class badminton, you’d know what just happened,” he also wrote.

The BWF told TV2 Sport that it would not comment on the issue prior to receiving a report from the tournament’s organisers.

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