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Taiwanese top seeds going strong (Photo: Badminton Photo)
Taiwanese top seeds unscathed on opening day
Date: 12/12/2018 8:11 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
The opening day for the end of year finale took place today in Guangzhou, China. All year-round players have been working hard to reach this tournament, in order to be crowned the best of the best. But first, they must navigate their way through the group stages.

For Chou Tien Chen in the Men’s Singles, 3 is the magic number. His journey to Guangzhou included 3 titles, 3 runner-up positions and 3 semi-finals, making him the top seed. His tricky opener against Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting was no different, as it went all the way to 3 games, with the consistent Taiwanese player victorious, 17-21, 21-18, 21-18.

Best level for every match
Taiwan also top the seeds in the Women’s Singles, with Tai Tzu Ying. The 2014 and 2016 winner of the season finale is favourite to lift the trophy again in 2018. Her opponent today was a late entry into the tournament due to the withdrawal of Carolina Marin. USA’s Zhang Beiwen stepped in and gave a good account of herself but was not able to match Tai Tzu Ying who won 21-15, 21-17.

The importance of focus in the group stages was highlighted by Tai Tzu Ying when she said in a BWF interview that

-I will have to play to my best level for every match. If I lose a group match, elimination is decided by points. There is a chance I might not progress to the knockout stage. 

This has been avoided by the Taiwanese top seeds on day one. But with two more groups matches to come, maintaining their level and focus is key. 

Two European pairs
We also had opening matches for two European pairs. In the Mixed Doubles, English pair Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith had a tough start against World Champions and number one in the world pair Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong, losing 21-16, 21-17.

Also, in the Women’s Doubles, Stefani and Gabriela Stoeva faced in form Japanese pair Mayu Matsutomo and Wakana Nagahara, losing 21-10, 21-16.
 
For all the results and fixtures, click here.

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