China’s Han Li powered past third seed Saina Nehwal to enter her first Superseries semi-final at the Victor Korea Open Superseries Premier today.
Han’s 21-14 15-21 21-12 upset was the most significant result of the Women’s Singles quarter-final matches at SK Handball Stadium. The defeat of the world No. 3 gave Han her first win against the Indian in three matches. It was an important triumph for the world No. 26, who has rapidly risen up the rankings over the last year. From world No. 92 in April 2012, she shot to a career-best No. 18 by December, thanks to her title victories at the Indonesia Open GP Gold and Australian Open GP Gold.
Han (BWF home page) will take on Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun (left) who was mostly untroubled by Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk en route to a 21-13 21-7 victory. In the other half, French Open champion, Minatsu Mitani of Japan – who overcame Thailand’s Nichaon Jindapon 24-22 22-20 – faces fifth seed Wang Shixian (China).
In Men’s Singles, Russian Vladimir Ivanov, who stole the show yesterday with his upset of Jan O Jorgensen (Denmark), could not overcome fourth seed Du Pengyu (China). The Russian was beaten 21-11 21-8 in 33 minutes. Du faces Indonesian veteran Sony Dwi Kuncoro; a 21-17 21-15 winner over Japan’s Takuma Ueda. In the top half, No. 1 seed Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) opposes Wong Wing Ki (Hong Kong). Lee took 32 minutes to oust Hu Yun (Hong Kong) 21-15 21-17, while Wong (top right) won his third three-game match in a row, beating Lee’s compatriot Chong Wei Feng 21-5 17-21 21-15.
One of the day’s closest matches was the Men’s Doubles quarter-final between Hong Wei/Shen Ye (China) and Lee Sheng Mu/Tsai Chia Hsin (Chinese Taipei). The Chinese Taipei pair bagged the first game and looked set to make the semi-finals with leads of 17-12 and 20-19, but Hong/Shen fought their way to a 25-23 win of the second game, before powering through in the third game. They will play top seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (Denmark), while second seeds Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong (Malaysia) face Lee Yong Dae/Ko Sung Hyun (Korea) in the other half.
• Olympic Women’s Doubles champion, Tian Qing (China), playing with new partner Bao Yixin, was handed a rare defeat by fourth-seeded Korean pair, Jung Kyung Eun/Kim Ha Na 21-11 21-18. The Koreans face top seeds Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli of China next.
• Ma Jin and Tang Jinhua (China) are in the hunt for their third Superseries victory as a pair. After winning the Denmark and French Opens and reaching the second round of the China Open in 2012, the two have not competed as a pair until this tournament.
• China’s top two Mixed Doubles pairs Xu Chen/Ma Jin and Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei headed for another showdown by winning their quarter-final matches. However, Olympic champions Zhang/Zhao will be wary of semi-final opponents, Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen (Denmark; at right), who have a 6-4 career record against them.
Text by Dev Sukumar | BadmintonPhoto