Two young prospects will make their maiden appearance in the semi-finals of the BWF World Superseries at the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open.
Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long and Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting, who have shot up the ranks in remarkably quick time, sealed their semi-final places in Men’s Singles. Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei then outgunned World champion Chen Long to repeat the result of the Thaihot China Open final on Sunday.
After Ginting eased past another youngster, Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai, it was the turn of local hero Ng Ka Long. The packed Coliseum was abuzz as Ng fought toe-to-toe with No.5 seed Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei). In a match of identical styles, Ng recovered from a 7-12 deficit in the third to storm to a 21-17 15-21 21-15 victory, giving him a last-four place against Lee Chong Wei.
The Malaysian once again came up with the goods against Chen, who had steamrolled all opposition until he ran into Lee in the China Open final.
Lee appeared to carry the confidence of Sunday’s win; easily anticipating Chen’s biggest smashes and moving like lightning to control the rallies. However, his finishing touch was off and he made innumerable errors with Chen at his mercy. The Malaysian’s profligate ways saw Chen go up by a game and 18-13.
Chen was handshaking distance away from another win, but Lee then turned it around magnificently. Playing patiently and working out his openings, Lee chalked up a sequence of points without error: serene touch at the net and precise smashes that saw the shuttle homing in on the lines. The World champion didn’t do his cause any good by fluffing a couple of easy kills; with the third game slipping from his grasp it was his turn to make a number of uncharacteristic errors, virtually handing the match to his resurgent opponent. The 13-21 21-19 21-15 victory was achieved in 86 minutes.
Okuhara, Intanon in Semis
The Women’s Singles quarter-finals, expected to have some close matches, were one-sided. Defending champion Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) was all at sea against the player she beat in last year’s final, Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara. Tai was unable to get anything right with her smashes off the mark and even her trusty deceptive game letting her down. Okuhara jogged away winner at 21-13 21-13.
The Japanese will meet Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, who sliced apart the challenge of Sayaka Sato (Japan), 21-19 21-11.
Wang Yihan had even less trouble against Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun, who had beaten her in the Victor Korea Open final. Sung sprayed the shuttle around and lost all fight in the second, going down 21-14 21-7. In another quarter-final, top seed Carolina Marin was too fast and powerful for Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk; the Spaniard winning 21-12 21-13 in 35 minutes.
“Today it was more difficult than yesterday, because the drift has changed,” said Marin, who appeared confident of challenging for the title. “I had to control the shuttle and pay more attention. I kept moving her on court and kept the initiative. I’m very happy with my performance because last week I lost to Wang Shixian, it wasn’t a good game for me. I changed my mind because I want to get the title here. I know it’s going to be a tough match, but will be nice to play the final here. I have kept my focus on my training and the little things I have to improve to get to the top level.”
Ahsan/Setiawan against Boe/Mogensen
The top three Men’s Doubles seeds took their semi-final places without much trouble. Korea’s Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong (1) were comfortable all through in quelling Indonesia’s Kevin Sanjaya/Markus Fernaldi Gideon (21-16 21-11), while their semi-final opponents Chai Biao/Hong Wei (China) were similarly at ease against Malaysia’s Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong. Denmark’s Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (3) and defending champions Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia, 2) will face off in the second semi-final.
Women’s Doubles saw a marathon all-Japan quarter-final between top seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi and Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao.
At the end of 96 minutes of interminable rallies, Fukuman and Yonao sealed their place in the semi-finals beating Matsutomo/Takahashi 23-21 17-21 21-13. The Japanese take on defending champions Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei (China), who prevailed over Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl 21-15 21-23 21-11.
China Open champions Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang continued with their impressive run of victories, beating Korea’s Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee; they take on Indonesia’s Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari (featured image).
Both Mixed Doubles semi-finals will feature China versus Korea contests.
Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto continued to chip away at defending champions Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei, coming to within a couple of points of upsetting them. Although the record now reads 7-0 for the Chinese, the Indonesians can take heart from a performance in which they matched their opponents shot for shot and blow for blow.
It was even all the way. The Indonesians did little wrong – Jordan smashed powerfully to breach the defences of Zhang and Zhao, while Susanto repelled everything that Zhang Nan fired her way. Eventually, it would be a missed kill at the net by Jordan that proved costly for the Indonesians. Zhang/Zhao needed just one match point to seal their place in the semi-finals.
Zhang/Zhao face Yoo Yeon Seong/Chang Ye Na, who prevailed over China’s Xu Chen/Ma Jin, while in the other semi-final, Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin face Shin Baek Choel/Chae Yoo Jung.
Liu/Bao overcome some stiff resistance from Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na, winners of Superseries in Denmark and Korea. The second game was tightly fought, but the Chinese always had the edge with Bao defending splendidly and Liu pouring on the pressure with his smashes. A couple of mistakes from the Koreans in the second game was all it took for the Chinese to emerge winners: 21-8 21-18.