CANADA OPEN 2010 SF – Taipei to try for 3 titles

The atmosphere inside the Richmond Oval was as warm and gorgeous as the weather outside the venue for an action-packed semi-final day at the 2010 Yonex Canada Open Grand Prix. […]

The atmosphere inside the Richmond Oval was as warm and gorgeous as the weather outside the venue for an action-packed semi-final day at the 2010 Yonex . And rightfully so as Chinese Taipei shuttlers, who turned out to be local favourites, dominated the day with four wins – of which three were long three-setters – against their Korean opponents, who in fact couldn’t manage to clinch a single spot in the finals roster. Juliane Schenk and duo Marinello-Overzier gave the German female squad a good name after each earned a spot on Sunday’s schedule. Brice Leverdez will join Taufik in the men’s singles final after scoring a brilliant win over bête noire Rune Ulsing of Denmark. However, Triyachart and Saputra of Singapore were the authors of the day’s biggest upset with a thrilling three-game win over first seeds Bach and Gunawan of neighbouring USA.

Story and Photos: Yves Lacroix, live in Richmond for Badzine and BadmintonPhoto

Chinese Taipei quickly stamped their authority by winning the day’s first two matches in mixed doubles. Chen and Cheng easily and rapidly disposed of scratch pair Britta Andersen and Cheng’s Korea Open partner Flandy Limpele who, as relaxed as he always is, smilingly apologized for the loss to partner Andersen after the game. On the other hand, first seeds Lee Sheng Mu and Chien Yu Chin (pictured) had to fight all the way to beat Koreans Shin and Yoo 21-15, 18-21, 21-18.

Despite a good first game from giant Kim Moon Hi, 2007 World Champion Zhu Lin (pictured) showed the stuff that former world champions are made of and got the best of the Korean with a score of 21-19, 21-11. “I really enjoy being here, said the Chinese veteran while stretching after her match. I wanted to discover this city and this is one of the reasons why I decided to enter this tournament. I knew Vancouver had a large Chinese population but I never expected so much support from the crowd. It really helps my motivation and makes playing here more fun.

“Due to my history against Pi, I knew that my encounter with her would be very critical if I were to go far in this tournament, remarked the brown-haired Chinese on her path through the final.

Second seed Juliane Schenk rose up to her seeding and ended her match with her traditional sign of the cross in recognition for her win. However, she and opponent Judith Meulendijks had to exchange three identical scores of 21-12 before settling the issue of the match in favour of the German.

The only former world champion to fail to make the finals, Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan of the United States participated in the day’s most thrilling match before going down in 3 games to Hendri Kurniawan Saputra and Chayut Triyachart (pictured) of Singapore.

The Singapore pair, led by 29-year old Hendri Kurniawan Saputra’s high-flying smashes and rapid-fire backhands, took the first game handily and had two match points at 20-18 in the second. However, on the second of these, the Americans let a long, flat smash by Hendri sail to the back of the court and as the Singaporeans anxiously awaited the call, the line judge hesitated, then slowly raised his hands to his face to signal that he was unsighted. When the umpire ruled the shot as out and the game went into extra points, Hendri and Chayut looked visibly demoralized and Tony and Howard were able to take the next two points and even the match at one game apiece.

The unexpected end to the second game seemed to stun the Singapore pair as much as it did the spectators. However, just when it looked as if the Americans were pulling away for the last time, with a 10-5 lead in the third, Hendri’s leaps got higher and his voice got louder and he and Chayut came alive to begin a 7-point run that would put them back on top. At 16-13, Hendri seemed to dig four smashes in a row literally out of the floor before the Americans finally wore him down.

The newly-formed pair nevertheless carried on and easily sailed through the rest of the match to clinch the final game 21-17.

Thailand-born Triyachart was obviously thrilled after his victory over the American first seeds. “I’m of course very happy with this win, said the tall Asian after being interrupted on numerous occasions by fans with their mobile phones who wanted to be immortalized with the day’s stars.

“As underdogs, we had nothing to lose and no pressure at all coming into this match. This is my first tournament with Hendri and I’m personally thrilled to score my first ever win in doubles against a top 10 pair. We had no particular strategy coming in the match apart from using our respective strengths with Hendri smashing at the back and me cutting at the net, added the 20-year old athlete.

The Singaporeans will, however, have a lot on their hands if they want to beat in-form Fang Chieh Min and Lee Sheng Mu (pictured), who remain unbeaten since their back-to-back titles at the last two Super Series events in Singapore and Jakarta. Fang and Lee nevertheless had to fight hard to get rid of Koreans Kim and Shin 21-19, 13-21, 21-16.

Women’s doubles was also the scene of epic three-setters. First seeds Cheng and Chien had trouble getting rid of the relatively unknown Japanese duo of Rie Eto and Yu Wakita. An even tougher fight awaited Marinello and Overzier of Germany who also had to go all the way to oust Koreans Eom and Kim 21-14, 16-21, 21-16 in the day’s longest match.

In men’s singles, Brice Leverdez waited for the perfect occasion to finally beat opponent Rune Ulsing for the first time in four attempts. The Frenchman seemed to be in better balance than in his previous match against countryman Maunoury on the same court the night before. Leverdez avenged his quarter-final defeat to the Dane at the recent Spanish Open. The Frenchman managed to do just that in two games of 21-16 21-19 before crumbling to the floor and shouting a oui! of relief and satisfaction.

Despite the setting sun once again halting play on centre court when Taufik Hidayat (pictured) was just two points away from victory in his encounter with surprise semi-finalist Dieter Domke of Germany, one could suspect the Indonesian’s numerous fans secretly not being disappointed when the European took advantage of the Indonesian’s loss of momentum and grabbed the second game 22-20. Indeed, the fans seemed to want the match to last as long as possible in order to see their favourite player amaze them with every aspect of his play. The Indonesian may have had a super easy 21-9 third game but had difficulties leaving the court after being literally mobbed by the awaiting fans. A photographer on hand quickly improvised himself as a security guard to clear the way for a quick escape by Hidayat.

For complete semi-final results, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to see our live photo gallery from the 2010 Yonex Canada Open Grand Prix.

Yves Lacroix

About Yves Lacroix

Based in Montréal, Yves has been an archivist for most of his career and started badminton photography early in the millennium. He has been part of the team since its infancy and his work both behind the camera and behind the photo website is key to the success of Badzine.