HONG KONG OPEN 2010 SF – Chong Wei and Taufik again

Veterans Lee Chong Wei and Taufik Hidayat will face each other in the final of the Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open in the Queen Elisabeth Stadium on Sunday, while Saina […]

Veterans Lee Chong Wei and Taufik Hidayat will face each other in the final of the Yonex Sunrise in the Queen Elisabeth Stadium on Sunday, while Saina will try to strike gold again.

By Kevin Kung, Badzine Correspondent live in Hong Kong.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

There were VIP seats at both ends of the court, and, funny enough,  the organizers had set up VVIP seats at the opposite the press seating.  But the focus still remained on the VVVIPs of the day: all the semi-finalists of the last leg of this year’s Super Series.

The local fans were eager to see the top flight back in action after getting the disappointing news of withdrawals from Chinese stars Lin Dan and Chen Jin. Saturday’s matches in the men’s singles started with Lee Chong Wei against Nguyen Tien Minh. The audience was responsive and one could tell who won the point by listening to their reaction “Aiya” for Tien Minh when he missed a shot and “oh” for Chong Wei when he won a point with one of his incredible net shots. Chong Wei won the match in 36 minutes 21-14, 21-17.

Reporters gathered in front of the player lounge for half an hour but Lee Chong Wei (pictured right) rejected interview invitations politely and seemed to be not too satisfied with his performance today. He told reporters that he had nothing to comment about today’s match but the friendly Malaysian still welcomed fans asking for photos outside the stadium.

Another highlight match of the day was Indonesian veteran Taufik Hidayat against Chinese talent Chen Long (pictured left).  Fresh off a win at the China Open last weekend, Chen won the first game 21-15 but Taufik bounced back in the second 21-11.

In the decider, Taufik Hidayat (pictured top) was always lagging behind in score but he got full support from the local fans, even though he was facing a Chinese player in Hong Kong.  Taufik leveled up at the crucial moment when it was all square at 19-19. The crowd gave him a big hand when he earned his match point and all he needed was one as he wrapped it up 21-19.

“It was a tough match for me. But you can always see me smiling when playing today because I think every spectator enjoyed the match very much. I can see their happy faces and I was glad to win the match,” said Taufik.

The Indonesian told Badzine he wants his baby boy to watch him playing on court and in action in tournament when he grows up. “He is only six months old now and I think it will take two or three years for him to be old enough to know what’s happening inside the court,” said Taufik. To make his dream come true, Taufik needs to continue his career for at least two more years.

“I beat Chong Wei in the Paris World Championships this year and I think I have a chance to win tomorrow,” said Taufik for his prediction on tomorrow’s match.

Although Lee Yong Dae (photo) lost the match to the Olympic and Asian Games champion pair Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan in two games, it didn’t affect his popularity among fans here.  Many fans waited for so long at the entrance of the venue and chased after him when he came out from the venue and had some dangerous moments as they all ran onto the roadway without watching the traffic conditions.

In women’s singles, Wang Shixian once again beat her compatriot Wang Xin after the Asian Games final last month in easy two games. Juliane Schenk’s amazing journey in this year’s Hong Kong Open was stopped by Saina Nehwal after a hard fight, 19-21, 21-17, 21-12 in a 53-minute match.

“The drift here makes it difficult to do pushes or other long shots as they often go out wide, since I am not playing with the style of sharp smashes. It was also hard for me to have three 3-setters in a row from the round of 16,” said Juliane.

“I am always trying to do better and my current shape is good. I hope I can keep improving and prepare for the London Games,” added the German, who had a shock loss against the eventual bronze medallist Maria Kristin Yulianti in the opening round of the Beijing Olympics. “This time I can play in Europe. I think I should have more motivation to fight with my European player identity.”

On the other hand, Chinese player Yu Yang tasted bitterness in mixed doubles, where she and her partner Xu Chen lost to Joachim Fischer Nielsen/ Christinna Pedersen (photo) from Denmark. But she showed her domination in women’s doubles by beating compatriot Tian Qing / Pan Pan in quick two sets 21-9, 21-8 in only twenty three minutes. The match was so short that it ended even before the post-match interview with Taufik, from the previous semi-final!

And when the day of semi-final ended, it was the time for all photographers and reporters to return their press jackets to the organizers. To get their 100 HKD deposit back!

For complete semi-final results from the 2010 Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

About Kevin Kung