THAILAND OPEN 2007 – Korea And Thailand Stand In China?s Way

Korea was a big winner at the Thailand Open last year where they bagged all three doubles crowns. With 4 Korean doubles pairs storming into the semi-finals of the 2007 […]

ImageKorea was a big winner at the last year where they bagged all three doubles crowns. With 4 Korean doubles pairs storming into the semi-finals of the 2007 , Korea’s appetite clearly hasn’t shrunk.

By Jan Lin, Badzine UK Correspondent Photos: badmintonphoto (archives)

In the men’s doubles category, Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae (pictured) are the defending champions in Thailand. Jung is in fact in the running for his third consecutive title in the land of smiles. Joining this year’s party are fourth seeds Lee Jae Jin and Hwang Ji Man, as both pairs secured places in the men’s doubles semi-finals after straight set wins in the quarter-finals yesterday.
Jung and Lee will face local favourites Sudket Prapakamol and Tesana Panvisvas in the men’s doubles semi-finals. The unseeded Thailand pair nicked a sensational win over 2nd seeds Lee Wan Wah and Choong Tan Fook of Malaysia 21-19, 19-21, 21-18 in the quarter-finals.

Image In an exclusive interview with Badzine in June this year, 29-year-old Tesana (pictured right) revealed that he has recently come out of and rekindled his partnership with Sudket in a bid to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Interestingly, Tesana and then partner Pramote Teerawiwatana were defeated by Lee and Choong in the round of 16 of the 2004 Olympics in Tesana’s last tournament before a near 3-year hiatus from international play. So not only was last night sweet revenge for the Thai, their significant progress at this Championship has also definitely indicated that the new pair is right on track.

The other Korean men’s doubles pair Lee and Hwang will take on the last standing Malaysian pair of Gan Teik Chai and Lin Woon Fui in the other semi-final tie.

The reigning women’s doubles crown holders,  Lee Kyung Won and Lee Hyo Jung, have also sailed into the semi-finals to take on China’s Du Jing and Yu Yang, who are seeded 4th in this tournament.

In the mixed doubles event, 5th seeds Han Sang Hoon and Hwang Yu Mi defeated 4th seeds Ingo Kindervater and Katrin Piotrowski of Germany in straight sets to book their semi-finals berth.

Hwang Yu Mi is also the reigning champion in this event, having won the crown with Lee Yong-dae in 2006.  Han Sang Hoon, who had a splendid run shouldering the mixed doubles event for Korea during the Sudirman Cup, appears to be continuing his fine form.

Image The Koreans will play second seeds Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark while the other semi-finals will showcase Thailand’s Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam, who are the top seeds in this event. The Thais will surely be looking to rely on homecourt advantage to defeat China’s He Han Bin and Yu Yang later this afternoon.

Thailand is also represented by Boonsak Ponsana, affectionately known as the ‘Thai Superman’, in the men’s singles semi-finals where he will face the top seed Chen Jin of China. This semi-final match will be an entertaining clash between the 2007 Singapore Super Series champion Boonsak and the 2007 Swiss Super Series champion Chen Jin.

The other men’s singles semi-finals tie is between second seed Chen Hong of China and tenth seed Ng Wei of Hong Kong. While Chen Hong did not meet much resistance until the quarter finals tie against Malaysia’s Lee Tsuen Seng who stretched the Chinese veteran to a tiebreaker match in an hour-long match, Ng Wei, on the other hand, faced 3 three-game matches before arriving at the coveted semi-finals berth.

China’s Zhu Lin, who barely survived her quarter-final tie against Germany’s Julian Schenk, is eyeing a second Thailand Open women’s singles crown to add to the one she won last year but an in-form French representative Pi Hong Yan has proven to be a tough nut to crack at this Championship defeating all her opponents in straight games.

The other semi-final tie is a showcase between veteran Zhou Mi of Hong Kong up against Singapore’s young sensation Xing Ai Ying (pictured left). The Singaporean denied Thailand a fourth representative in the semi-finals when she brilliantly disposed of Boonsak’s younger sister Salakjit Ponsana in the quarter-finals.

See full results HERE.

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