Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2011 China Super Series Premier




We had an early flight into China and although they didn't actually have our information, the tournament organizers were still able to get us on the bus to the tournament hotel. We stayed at a 4-star Holiday Inn and it was actually pretty nice, though it felt a little steep for $160 USD/night. However, with transportation, internet access and breakfast, I guess it was a fair deal, though I would have rathered booked online and got a room for $100 USD/night. Breakfast is usually quite overpriced and there were some good options around.


We had a practice later that afternoon, and thankfully we were able to make it because they didn't give us any practice times at the main venue on Monday. The first half of our practice was pretty terrible because they had the air conditioning on at full blast, making it rather ridiculous, but after they turned off the air con, it was actually very nice to play in. After, we went back to the hotel and resumed our workout as we only had an hour of practice. Fortunately, they finals of the Hong Kong Super Series were on TV at the time and we got to see the final of the MD where Cai/Fu [CHN] made an incredible comeback to take the title away from Lee/Jung [KOR] in the final set.


Monday meant practice in the Practice Hall and unfortunately we had a very early practice. We ended up playing in the tennis bubble nearby, but it was very cold in Shanghai that morning. We still practiced and headed back to catch some breakfast. We also had an afternoon time but it was a lot better then. Some of us were able to have a couple practice games with the Australians, as Derrick/Adrian practiced with Glenn/Warfe [AUS] while Grace/Joyce practiced against Choo/Veeran [AUS]. Later than evening, we went (again) to Ajisen Ramen. We went quite often as the prices were quite good and the food was good. As it was a quick walk from the tournament hotel, we saw a lot of other athletes there as well. I actually bumped into a student of Seoul Foreign School at the restaurant as we did an exhibition with Kim Dong Moon at their school back in March in Korea. I guess she remembered me, so maybe I'm getting more famous? Hahahahaha I hope not :P

Tom Yum Ramen at Ajisen Ramen
People randomly dancing on the streets in Shanghai. Weird...
Tuesday was qualifications for Joyce and Adrian in their mixed, as they were unable to get promoted into the Main Draw because nobody withdrew. They had a bye though, but they faced Hirata/Maeda [JPN] for the 2nd time. They had a pretty good match with them but lost in 2 sets. After the match, we had some time so we decided to go get a massage. We made sure it was an authentic massage first before Joyce, Adrian and I signed up for a full body massage (45 minutes) and a foot massage (1 hour) for only 133 RMB (~$22 USD)! We were able to all do it in the same room so there was no weird stuff happening ;) In the end, it was pretty good overall, but I didn't particularly like the foot massage. I guess I know what I needed and a foot massage didn't have much relevance to my sport injuries, no matter what they believe with reflexology...



Wednesday started off with my mixed with Grace first thing in the morning against Sato/Matsuo [JPN]. They were only ranked slightly ahead of us, so it was one of those matches I was hoping to do better in. This was a great draw for us and one of those chances to get that breakthrough win. Unfortunately, we came up short. It was quite disappointing, but at least we came close in the 2nd set and lost 21-19. But as Ha Tae Kwon once said to be, "21-19, 21-0... same thing!" It would have given us a shot to play against the World #1 team (Zhang/Zhao [CHN]) but that didn't happen, nonetheless. I headed back after for some lunch, then headed back for the Canadian MD and WD matches. Unfortunately, they were both up against China, so they would be quite difficult matches for the Canadians. Derrick and Adrian were scheduled to be up first technically, but since they were on the TV court, their court was delayed and they played after Joyce and Grace. They did well at the beginning of both sets, but things fell apart for them after the intervals. Derrick and Adrian also had a tough time against a younger Chinese team and fell in 2 sets.




Adrian and Joyce changed their flights to go back to Hong Kong for Thursday, but I was able to practice with Adrian on Thursday morning for a bit. Derrick would stay until Friday, while I would be there until Saturday. Accommodations were a little messed up, but in the end I was able to cancel my room and take Joyce's because they had prepaid and booked off the internet. On the last couple of days, I had a 90 minute massage, watched some badminton, and got a chance to go into Shanghai with Grace and her cousin from Beijing. It was interesting to see the city, but getting back was a problem as the taxi drivers didn't really know how to my hotel. Fortunately, I finally found one and I tipped him generously for returning me to the hotel. Did some last minute shopping for some Chinese liquor @ 106 Proof (53%) and proceeded to pack for a night in Hong Kong before going to Macau.



Nanxing Steamed Buns (Xiao Long Bao)
 I had a really early flight to Hong Kong the next morning, so that meant getting up at like, 4:30am and leaving the hotel at 5:00am. I had little difficulties getting on the flight and getting to Hong Kong, but traveling to the hotel that Derrick was in was a little tougher. I took the express train to Hong Kong Island and ended up at the Central MTR station. After being lost for a little while, I found the Island MTR line and managed to get my way all the way to Fortress Hill... with all my stuff. After, it was a short walk to the hotel, but it's hard to navigate through all the people in Hong Kong. I was also super hungry but I was able to get some food from Yoshinoya eventually. After walking around the area for a while, I headed back to the hotel to rest. Derrick and I went to dinner at a Hainese Chicken place, then I went and bought a cheap cellphone which I hope is unlocked. We wanted to exchange more money, but it was closed everywhere so we just waited until the next morning. We had breakfast again at Yoshinoya, exchanged some money, then headed off to Macau, which was another adventure in itself, so I will leave that for another blog posting!

I found MC Jin in Hong Kong!
I guess he's also in Yoshinoya :P

Full Results via Tournament Software: [CHINA OPEN SUPER SERIES PREMIER]

Matches via YouTube:
XD Qualifier (R64): Noriyasu HIRATA/Miyuki MAEDA [JPN] vs. Adrian LIU/Joycelyn KO [CAN]
Game 1
Game 2

XD R32:
Shoji SATO/Shizuka MATSUO [JPN] vs. Toby NG/Grace GAO [CAN]
Full Match

WD R32: XIE Jing/BAO Yixin [CHN] vs. Joycelyn KO/Grace GAO [CAN]
Full Match

MD R32:
 LIU Xialong/QIU Zihan [CHN] vs. Adrian LIU/Derrick NG [CAN]
Full Match

MS R16:
CHEN Long [CHN] vs. Hans-Kristian VITTINGHUS [DEN]
Full Match


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