The battle of former champions produced a humdinger in the Women’s Singles semi-finals of the Dong Feng Citroen Badminton Asia Championships 2015 today.
The All-China semi-final between Li Xuerui and Wang Yihan was a sensational affair that lasted 74 minutes. Top seed Li prevailed by one of the narrowest scores seen in recent times, 20-22 24-22 22-20, after saving two match points in the second game.
Li’s opponent in tomorrow’s final will be Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon (right), who recovered from a first-game loss to beat Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying, 20-22 21-9 21-12. Intanon hasn’t beaten Li in three matches since her memorable triumph in the BWF World Championships final in 2013.
The Men’s Singles final will see defending champion Lin Dan against young compatriot Tian Houwei (both China). Lin breezed past Wang Zhengming 21-14 21-17 while Tian received a walkover from top seed Chen Long.
The Men’s Doubles final features the two in-form pairs of the moment: Korea’s Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (below) and Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan. The Koreans have won five of eight contests, but the last two have gone the Indonesians’ way.
In the semi-finals, top seeds Lee/Yoo proved too strong for compatriots Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang, 21-18 21-9; Ahsan/Setiawan had a harder time against China’s Cai Yun/Lu Kai. The Indonesians were stretched but eventually clinched it 21-12 18-21 21-16.
Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo lost both semi-finals she figured in. Top seeds Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi were beaten in a marathon 88-minute Women’s Doubles semi-final by Chinese veterans Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli, 21-18 18-21 21-15, while in the other semi-final, No.2 seeds Luo Ying/Luo Yu retired after losing the first game to Chinese compatriots Ma Jin/Tang Yuanting 21-12.
Earlier, Matsutomo and Kenichi Hayakawa came up short against defending champions Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah (Hong Kong), 21-17 21-19. The other semi-final saw Indonesians Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir get past China’s Xu Chen/Ma Jin rather comfortably, 21-12 21-15.
For the day’s results, click here.
Text by Dev Sukumar | Badmintonphoto