MALAYSIA OPEN 2010 QF – One Wang too many

The 2010 Proton Malaysia Open promises to be different by showing a good number of fresh faces in the semi-finals tomorrow.  China’s hope of confirming a place in the women’s […]

The 2010 Proton promises to be different by showing a good number of fresh faces in the semi-finals tomorrow.  China’s hope of confirming a place in the women’s singles semi-finals fractured as Eriko Hirose declared herself dark horse by outflanking Wang Lin in three games.  Meanwhile, Jan O Jorgensen got halted ruthlessly by Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam.

By EeLyn Ooi, Badzine Correspondent, live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Yves Lacroix, BadmintonPhoto (live)

Known as the young lady who keeps smiling regardless of any circumstances, 24-year-old Eriko Hirose (pictured) was the first lady to play solo on the courts of the quarter-finals. By taking the first game 21-19 against hot favourite Wang Lin, she gave the second seed a good jumpstart that caused the latter to awaken in the second game, taking it back in 21-15. Wang had a good lead through the whole of game three, before the Japanese caught up with her in the end, throwing her a defeat by merely two points.

Eriko Hirose had once been down with an injury and being unable to train well after recovering caused her to see the low tide in her career. Today on the TV court of Putra Stadium, she announced to the live and home spectators that she is finally back on the move.

“Most Chinese players are very tall and skilful. Therefore in order to beat them, I have to build up my stamina to follow up with their games. I had long rallies with Wang Lin today and tried to keep pace so I could force errors out of her,” said Eriko, absolutely joyful about her victory.

Meanwhile on the adjacent court that caught the most screams, Jan O Jorgensen was struggling to show Nguyen Tien Minh (pictured) some colour despite the crowd’s attention shown upon the solo Vietnamese. Jan threw a killing smash towards Nguyen’s far forehand, resulting in a call of out by the umpire. Feeling unjust, Jan raised his arms, seeking support from the spectators, but unfortunately the thundering cheer from the crowd wasn’t strong enough to trigger the umpire’s decision at all and he lost the first game in 17-21.

Having already a game in hand, Nguyen was determined to pull his opponent down but just when everyone thought he was going to have it with six game points, the hopeful Dane caught up to tie at 20 and won loud screams from the hysterical crowd. However, that was all he could do before he bowed down in 20-22.

“I didn’t think so much and just tried all I could. I don’t know how to play Lee Chong Wei tomorrow because I have not thought about it at all, but I’ll try my best,” confessed Nguyen in a post match press conference. When asked if he felt good to have this many fans here in Malaysia, he said, “It was the same yesterday but there’s more today. Maybe they are supporting me because they think I’m a small guy having to play against opponents who are much taller and bigger.”

In contrast to the disappointment of his countryman, Peter Gade (pictured) stepped into the backstage with a wide smile on his face, claiming that he had thoroughly enjoyed his match. Gade started off praising his Thai opponent, saying, “Tanongsak is a good player and he’s beaten Taufik before. He’s talented but is weaker in some place, like his stamina, but he is definitely on the run.”

Admitting that the match was relatively relaxing to him, he said, “I am not complaining about this. It is good to play relaxingly once in a while. Malaysia is part of my international life where I’ve won quite some times. I don’t know how many chances there are left for me to play here so I will enjoy every one of them.”

Gade, who was already expecting to play Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana next, in the semi-finals tomorrow, commented that Ponsana is a good player who is able to rise from complications in his games. Fortunately without crashing the Dane’s hope, Ponsana defeated Malaysian youngster Chong Wei Feng in straight games. Gade also pointed out that it will be tough for Lee Chong Wei to play Chen Jin today. “I wish to meet him in the finals now that Lin Dan is not around.  It’s a bonus for me. Good luck to Chong Wei!”

Lee had to sweat it out in his roller-coaster rider with Chen Jin.  With the support from the crowd and Gade’s good-luck wish, the local favourite finally ended the bumpy ride in 21-14, 16-21, 21-15.

Korean youngsters have started to come to the fore with the start of a new decade. After having a good match with Wang Shixian in the finals in Seoul last week, Sung Ji Hyun toppled the Malaysian top lady before she booked a match on Friday with compatriot Bae Youn Joo, who had beaten her in the Hwasun International in November. Bae wasn’t as lucky as Sung as she was eliminated in the first round at home, but this time, it was her turn to have a taste of pride with her victory in 21-13, 21-19.

Mixed pairs

Early in the evening on court 1, where three Taiwan players and one Indonesian were on court for the match between Chen/Chou of Chinese Taipei and Limpele/Cheng, Chen/Chou, who had ended their journey at this stage last year, managed to proceed a step higher, triumphing over their opponents in 21-10, 19-21, 21-13. While China’s brand new yet amazing pair of Zhang/Tao sent the 5th seeded Indonesians off the mixed doubles track (see related article HERE).

After the scene of three Taiwanese and one Indonesian in action on court, it was three Indonesians and one from the States up this time, in the men’s doubles. Bach/Gunawan caused a good deal of upsets for local spectators as they swept two Malaysian pairs gloriously, along the way. However, they ended up failing to earn a shot at the larger upset of defeating Koo/Tan, as they saw Alvent Yulianto Chandra / Hendra Aprida Gunawan (pictured) pinch off their semi-final ticket in two straight games.

Meanwhile, Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong proceeded ahead and scheduled a meeting with Chai Biao / Zhang Nan of China while fellow Malaysians Wong/Chin also sent in good news as they beat Chou Chia Chi / Yang Chia Chen of Chinese Taipei in the women’s doubles on the same court just before the men’s doubles took place.  They are to take on Malaysian Grand Prix Gold champions Ma/Wang of China while Korea’s Jung/Yoo (see related article HERE) are to face Olympic champions Du/Yu.

For complete quarter-final results from the 2010 Proton Malaysia Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

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