HONG KONG OPEN 2009 SF – It’s dogged as does it

Robert Mateusiak has a remarkable record: more than twenty national titles in both mixed and men’s doubles, a total of four medals at different European championships and a bag full […]

Robert Mateusiak has a remarkable record: more than twenty national titles in both mixed and men’s doubles, a total of four medals at different European championships and a bag full of trophies from all over the world.  But at the age of 32 he’ll be playing his first final at a Super Series event.  Mateusiak and partner Nadiezda Kostiuczyk (pictured), will do everything possible to overcome two-time mixed doubles World Champions Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir.

By Elm Vandevorst, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: BadmintonPhoto (live from Hong Kong)

It took the Polish pair three thrilling games, but in the end they got the better of new Taiwan pairing Fang Chieh Min and Wang Pei Rong.  It was the first time this tournament that Mateusiak and Kostiuckzuk fell a game behind, but once they won the second it could still have gone either way.  However at 16-20 behind in the deciding game, a first Super Series final looked far away for the experienced Mateusiak.  But by saving 3 match points and claiming their first one themselves, they were still able to win 16-21, 21-16, 24-22.  The Polish duo can now start preparing for their next adversaries Widianto/Natsir.  The two pairs already played once before this year in the quarter-finals of the Singapore Open, where Widianto and Natsir won 21-17, 21-8.

Some other European men also had good reason to celebrate, with success for Danes Peter Gade and Lars Paaske / Jonas Rasmussen.  At this time last year, Gade had already lost in the second round so he is surely improving on his previous result.  The Dane beat Japanese Kenichi Tago with 21-12, 21-13 and will now have to play first seeded Lee Chong Wei (pictured).  Lee had few problems overcoming Bao Chunlai 21-17, 21-12.

Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen (pictured below) are the third European participants in tomorrow’s finals, even though the men’s doubles duo were pushed to three games for the first time in Hong Kong.  They still prevailed at the closing stages against Malaysians Choong Tan Fook / Lee Wan Wah 13-21, 21-11, 21-17.  Koreans Jung Jae Sung/ Lee Yong Dae are the only ones who can prevent the Danes from winning their first Super Series event after their Japan Open title last year.  Paaske/Rasmussen are known as a pair that can trouble the defending champions, having scored three high profile victories over them – at the World Championships, Thomas Cup and Olympics – but the Koreans have actually won all three of their Super Series encounters and this weekend marks the first time the two pairs have ever met in a final.

In comparison to their male compatriots, the Chinese women are doing a lot better, totally dominating the women’s singles and doubles.  Jiang Yanjiao put a stop to top-seeded Wang Lin 21-18, 21-14 and will duel against her third compatriot in a row.  That challenger would be either Wang Yihan or Wang Xin.  Yihan was on a winning streak as she had already won the previous Super Series event in France.  Her last loss dates from the Japan Open, where she lost against…Wang Xin.  But today it was Wang Yihan who won, although she needed three games to be triumphant 21-8, 13-21, 21-17.

And also in the women’s doubles, two Chinese pairs will feature in the final.  Yu Yang and Du Jing eliminated the last non-Chinese contestants, Chin Eei Hui / Wong Pei Tty of Malaysia.  But the first seeded Malaysians did not go down without a fight.  It took Yu/Du almost an hour to secure their 12-21, 21-18, 21-16 victory.  Ma Jin / Wang Xiaoli had far less trouble in their bout with Cheng Shu / Zhao Yunlei and won 21-19, 21-14, to provide a repeat of the outcome – even if the scores were a little closer – of the French Open final just two weeks ago. 

For complete semi-final results from the 2009 Yonex-Sunrise Super Series, CLICK HERE

For live results and a selection of the week’s best photos from BadmintonPhoto, CLICK HERE

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About Elm Vandevorst