Announcing this is his last World Superseries in Paris, Lee Chong Wei swept into the Men’s Singles showdown of the Yonex French Open 2015 in commanding style today.
He treated a noisy and clearly partisan Stade Pierre de Coubertin to an authoritative display, dispatching an under-par Wang Zhengming, 21-7 21-13, in a mere 36 minutes.
For an athlete who has just about seen and done it all in a long and interesting career, the Malaysian master laughed and admitted he will actually be confronted with something – or rather someone – new in tomorrow’s finale.
“I don’t know! I never play him. (It) is the first time!” he declared, with wide-eyed wonder when asked about his chances versus defending champion, Chou Tien Chen (featured photo; right).
As for his increasingly impressive performances during the past week which culminated in a world-class, semi-final showing, he was clearly pleased with his output against Wang; the Chinese hopeful still finding it hard to make a decisive breakthrough at elite level.
“I controlled the match. I attacked all the way and never gave him a chance to get into it. It’s my first Superseries final for the year and I hope I can play well and win it,” said the former world No. 1 who turned 33 earlier this week.
Meanwhile, both Chou and Wang Shixian – the 2014 Women’s Singles champion – have the opportunity to continue their respective reigns in Paris. Chinese Taipei’s Chou came through a tricky encounter with Jan Jorgensen, triumphing in straight games just when it seemed he would be stretched to a third.
“It’s amazing to reach the final again. It’s more exciting for me to try and defend the title. I felt he (Jan) was a bit weak today so I used more speed to attack,” said the No. 6 seed.
Wang Shixian (featured photo; left) too produced a sterling comeback to overhaul leads of 16-11 and 18-15 by the wily Ratchanok Intanon who looked to be coasting clear, only to be felled, 21-13 11-21 21-19, by the determined Chinese.
“I’ve lost several times to her so I’m really happy with how I fought back in the third game. I never gave up but overall I should have played better. Tomorrow I hope I can play well,” stated the winner.
She will certainly have to as she will be up against the leading Women’s Singles player this season – Carolina Marin of Spain. The latter advanced to her fourth World Superseries final this year, beating Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying, 21-17 21-17.
Indonesia’s hopes for glory will be squarely on the shoulders of Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto as the upcoming duo celebrated their first World Superseries final, edging China’s Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong (21-18 21-19). They face Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na who crushed the English husband-and-wife pair, Chris and Gabby Adcock, 21-14 21-11. The Koreans will be aiming to lift a second successive championship, having won in Denmark last Sunday.
“We’re very happy but we know we must be more focused for the final. Today we showed our best and we have to do the same tomorrow also,” said Jordan and Susanto who have split their four previous meetings with Ko and Kim.
Women’s Doubles will be an all-China affair with the Luo twins – Ying and Yu – against team-mates Huang Yaqiong and Tang Jinhua; the latter competing with her sixth different partner. She and Huang expressed surprise in reaching the final as they only began playing together last week. Today, they rebounded nicely – 11-21 21-18 21-10 – against Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan who won in Denmark. The Luo sisters beat Indonesia’s Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii (21-19 21-14).
Denmark’s Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding enhanced their giant-killing reputation by rolling over world No. 2 pair, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, less than 24 hours after dismissing the world No. 3 partnership of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in Men’s Doubles. For their troubles, the ambitious 27-year-olds get another crack at Korea’s world No. 1 stars, Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong, whom they spectacularly booted from the Yonex All England Championships early this season. The Koreans prevailed, 21-18 21-18, versus their compatriots, Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang, in the other semi-final.
“All the top pairs were here and we are in the final. We can’t believe it!” declared Conrad-Petersen, looking dazed but happy after the 21-18 19-21 21-15 outcome.
“We want to play them (Lee and Yoo) because, if we win, we would prove that we deserve to win this tournament.”