Tuesday, March 13, 2012

2012 German Open

The German Open was held in Mulheim, a city about a half hour drive from Dusseldorf (the airport we fly into). As far as I know, the tournament has been held there for a while at the RWE Sporthalle as this would be my third German Open since 2008. I flew into London Heathrow from Vancouver, and transferred from Heathrow to Geneva, Switzerland, then to Dusseldorf, Germany. I bumped into teammate Adrian Liu (Men's Doubles) in Geneva and we headed to Germany together. We were promptly picked up by organizers and driven to the hotel, but apparently the hotel was closed so we went to a different one for the night. We took a taxi and moved back to our original hotel the next morning before heading to the main hall for a practice.

The venue has always been pretty good, though it seems even nicer now as the have added special lights which darken the audience and light up the courts. I think they started doing it the previous year, as I did not go last year but they didn't do it in 2010, the last time I went. Unfortunately the only complaint I had was that the tournament did not offer any practice shuttles. Usually tournament give each player one or two of the official tournament shuttles so they can adjust to the speed of the shuttle for the tournament. It is quite an important thing, especially if the tournament shuttle is not Yonex. Imagine how it would feel to start playing your match, with no idea whether the shuttle would be fast or slow. In some venues, you also have to adjust to the drift/draft, so you don't want to waste precious points trying to figure it out at the beginning of the match.

As a typical higher level tournament, it started with qualifying on Tuesday. Derrick and Alex had to play a qualifying match against Germany in the morning, but unfortunately they were a little jet lagged and lost a close first set before losing to the Germans in the 2nd set in a two set match. Michelle Li started off for the Canadians on Wednesday by defeating Susan Eggelstaff of Scotland again in straight sets at a 9am match. However, that would be the only win for Canada for the tournament, as Derrick Ng/Adrian Liu were up against 2008 Olympic Champions Hendra Setiwan/Markis Kido of Indonesia. Though they put up a good fight, they lost in 2 sets. Alex and Michelle also lost to a Chinese Taipei team in the Women's Doubles, while Grace and I lost in straight sets to China, despite having a 19-13 lead in the second set (yes... we lost 8 points in a row... >___<). Charmaine Reid/Nicole Grether also lost to the top Indian Women's Doubles team in straight sets.

The next day, after having a light practice, we went over to watch Michelle play against the #1 seed in Women's Singles, Wang Xin of China. Despite her efforts, Wang Xin really proved that she is one of the best players in the World at her event and left Michelle a lot to think about after the match. Nonetheless, a valiant effort by Michelle to tackle on a player probably in the top 3 in the World.

6 Euro Pizza (~ 1.33 CAD = 1 EUR)
The rest of the tournament we spent time practicing, watching matches, and playing Monopoly Deal. That game is quite addictive and we spent hours upon hours playing against each other in this fun 2-5 player card game. It's not quite like Monopoly, but it takes a lot of the same themes including property names, money, houses, hotels, and other Monopoly trademarks. However, the game itself is quite different, where a player wins when they earn 3 different properties. I won't explain the rules here, but I will highly recommend the game as it is quite a thinking game as there are many options and playing styles you can implement in the game :)

Overall, Germany was pretty good. The badminton was up and down and everyone had their own experience, but I felt I played pretty well overall. The only problem with my match that Jennifer (from Lee's Badminton, Ontario, also Michelle Li's coach) pointed out was that I was too passive at the end of the 2nd set. I should have kept the pressure on and forced the Chinese team to make a mistake, instead of keeping things in play and hoping that they will make a mistake. Special thanks to Jennifer for coaching us at this tournament (and also at All Englands... see next blog) as it was really nice to have a coach and having another opinion on what to do on court. In terms of other things in Germany, we didn't experience too much. The food we had was priced averagely, so it was about roughly the same amount I would spend on food in Vancouver. We had a lot of pizza and pasta, but it was made very well and was delicious each time. Alcohol was quite cheap, and I happened to stumble upon some infamous Duff Beer (The Simpsons, anyone?). Haribo candy was also really good and well priced and I also don't know how many cold coffee drinks I had that week, as they were 49 cent Euro each. Much cheaper than spending 2-3 Euro on a hot coffee.

6 bottles of Duff Beer for 4.99 Euro

Full Results via TournamentSoftware.com: [2012 German Open Grand Prix Gold]

Matches via YouTube.com/towbsss:
XD R128 (Qualifier):
Full Match

MD R32:
 Markis KIDO/Hendra SETIAWAN [INA] vs. Adrian LIU/Derrick NG [CAN]
Full Match

WD R32:
 HSEIH Pei Chan/WANG Pei Rong [TPE] vs. Alex BRUCE/Michelle LI [CAN]
Full Match

XD R32:
 HONG Wei/PAN Pan [CHN] vs. Toby NG/Grace GAO [CAN]
Full Match

BONUS: 3 vs. 3 MD (Korea Team Practice) - LEE Yong Dae/JUNG Jae Sung/YOO Yeon Seong vs. KO Sung Hyun/KIM Sa Rang/KIM Ki Jung
Game 1

I guess that's pretty much it! We left on Saturday for Birmingham, so I'll explain the journey in the next blog... the 2012 All England Super Series Premier!

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