TOP seeds Akane Yamaguchi and Kento Momota suffered contrasting fates as the women’s and men’s singles main draw started on Wednesday at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex in Muntinlupa City.
Yamaguchi, the reigning Asian champion in women’s singles, took just 26 minutes to take care of India’s Aakarshi Yashap, 21-15, 21-9, to open her title-retention bid in style.
On the bottom side of the draw, second-seed An Seyoung of South Korea needed to shake off Indonesia’s Stephanie Widjaja in three games, 21-16, 16-21, 21-16, to protect her section of the bracket.
Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand and Komang Ayu Cahya Dewi also booked their places in the second round after winning past Chinese Taipei’s Sung Shuo Yun, 21-12, 21-15, and China’s Han Yue, 21-14, 21-12.
The seeded men’s singles players, though, could not avert the upset ax.
Momota took a shocking exit in the competition as his three-peat bid was derailed by Indonesia’s Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo, 21-17, 17-21, 7-21. Meanwhile, India’s Lakshya Sen also went down in three games against Li Shi Feng of China, 21-12, 21-10, 21-19.
Jonathan Christie of Indonesia survived the day of upsets with a hard-fought 21-17, 21-13 win over India’s Sai Praneeth B., 21-17, 21-13.
The women’s doubles draw was also not saved from stunners even as seeded pairs in number 1 Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan, and fifth-ranked Japan’s Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida went through to the second round virtually unscathed.
This is after Indonesians Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti and Ribka Sugiarto took down third-seeds Kim Soyeong and Kong Heeyong of South Korea, 21-17, 20-22, 21-11.
As of this publishing, more matches in the first round of the men’s and women’s singles, and women’s doubles main draw are ongoing.
The tournament is made possible by SMART, MVP Sports Foundation, Li-Ning, Cignal, TV5, One Sports, Robinson’s Land, Premium Megastructure Inc., Philippine Badminton Association, Badminton Asia, the Philippine Olympic Committee, the Philippine Sports Commission, and Muntinlupa Mayor Fresnedi and the City of Muntinlupa.