Nozomi Okuhara shocks off-key Li Xuerui at Hong Kong Open

Nozomi Okuhara's post match interview with a journalist. (photo: EPA)

Hong Kong: World No. 10 women’s singles player Nozomi Okuhara made an extraordinary run in the first round of Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open on Wednesday as she pulled off a massive upset to dismiss Olympic gold medalist and last week’s China Open champion Li Xuerui of China 21-19, 21-9 in 34 minutes.Nozomi Okuhara's post match interview with a journalist. (photo: EPA)


Okuhara’s first-ever career encounter with Li was at the Yonex Open Chinese Taipei in June this year, where Okuhara lost to Li in straight-sets 12-21, 12-21.

“Li is a world-class badminton player, I’m really happy to be able to beat Li for the first time. However, I’m not happy about it, because Li obviously was not at her best especially in the second set,” said Okuhara.

Okuhara will play qualifier Chen Hsiao Huan of Taiwan in the second round.

Meanwhile, top seed Carolina Marin picked up her first round victory on Wednesday against P.V Sindhu 21-17, 21-7 in 35 minutes to set up a second round battle against Akane Yamaguchi of Japan on Thursday.

Hong Kong’s Yip Pui-yin also reached the second round following a 21-14, 21-19 victory over Tee Jing Yi of Malaysia.

In women’s doubles, top seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi, second seeds Luo Yu/Luo Ying all moved into the second round.

Although last week’s China Open women’s doubles champions Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang came into the tournament unseeded but they could make their presence felt throughout the tournament. They’ve trounced Chiang Kai Hsin/Wu Fang Chien 21-11, 21-12 in the first round, and will clash with compatriots Luo Yu/Luo Ying next.


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