MALAYSIA OPEN 2011 QF – Two thirds of China’s mixed through

China’s newer mixed doubles pairings did well once again at the Malaysia Open but the established pair of Zhao Yunlei and Zhang Nan bowed to some mighty Danes. By Lee […]

China’s newer mixed doubles pairings did well once again at the but the established pair of Zhao Yunlei and Zhang Nan bowed to some mighty Danes.

By Lee Suet Yan, Badzine Correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

The earlier mixed doubles matches on Friday brought the crowd in Stadium Putra to a higher level of excitement as Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (photo) knocked out the All England champions and China’s rising stars Zhang Nan / Zhang Yunlei with very tight scores of 20-22, 21-12, and 21-19.

The Danes started wel, with an early 4-1 lead. The game was fast and furious, as neither pair wanted to lift the shuttles. Nielsen continued to smash everything hard and the Danes led 11-10 at the interval. After that, the Chinese pair played fast and quick rallies with success and they were trying their best not to lift any shuttles, and pushed out to an 18-14 lead, only to see the Danes close the gap to 19-all. An incredible backhand return by Nielsen brought the Danes to their first game point at 20-19. However, Zhao controlled well at the net to draw level at 20-all before the Chinese won the first game 22-20.

The Danes took control in the second game with once again the hand over the first rallies, leading 4-0. Zhang/Zhao tried everything they could to counter their opponents but lost further ground as the Danes then reached their game point at 20-11. The Chinese pair saved one game point before the Danes wrapped up the game 21-12.

Nielsen/Pedersen continued their good run in the third game. Nielsen hit a smash on Zhao, although Zhao was able to defend it, but the shuttle was wide, and the Danes led 11-7 at the interval. At 13-10, Nielsen smashed the shuttle on Zhao again, and the Chinese had no other answer than falling on the floor giving their opponents a 14-10 lead. Soon after that, the Danes had their first match point before Zhao worked wonders to stay alive, but it wasn’t enough as the Danes eventually won the third game 21-19. Nielsen threw his racket and shirt to the crowd as a sign of clear satisfaction.

Still two in for China

It was certainly not an easy day for China as their other two mixed doubles pairs were struggling badly before they finally got their tickets for the semi-finals.  The Chinese Taipei pair Chen Hung Ling / Cheng Wen Hsing won the first game 23-21 against Tao and Tian, with a perfect drop shot by Chen. The Chinese pair came back strongly in the second and third game 21-12, 21-13.

Likewise, it was not an easy match for He Hanbin / Ma Jin (pictured) as they lost the first game 16-21, before winning the second and third game 21-11, 21-19 against Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Ha Jung Eun. The latter had slightly advantage during the first game interval as they led 11-7.  Ko/Ha continued the run to 14-8 as Ma made four mistakes in a row from 8-10 to 8-14.  Ko/Ha won the first game comfortably 21-16.

He/Ma started to warm up in the second game and Ma then minimized her mistakes, and won 21-11 to set up a final deciding game with the Koreans. Both pairs were fighting desperately hard, Ko pushed the shuttle wide to the side line before He/Ma edged 11-8 at the interval. Ma controlled better at the net after the interval to pull away from the Korean pair, they were leading 15-9. But the Koreans closed the gap to 14-15 before He/Ma got one point. After an incredible amount of attacking and defensive rallies, the scores came to 17-all. The Koreans even turned themselves into the leaders at 18-17. At 18-all, Ma smashed the shuttle into the tape and the shuttle did not go over, which gave the Korean pair the lead at 19-18.  Still, the Chinese pair first reached match point at 20-19. At the last point, He/Ma gave Ko/Ha many opportunities to attack, but the Chinese pair defended very well. Ma tried to change up some pace and angles and eventually they converted themselves into attack, He smashed on the middle of the court and wrapped up the final game 21-19.

Blair gets his revenge

Robert Blair, who had been away from the circuit because of internal problems in the English squad, was all smiles with his new partner Gabrielle White.  They continued their great form today and made a breakthrough to make it to the semi-finals. They were up against Songphon Anugritayawon and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul of Thailand. The English pair started slow but began to pick up their game after when they leveled at 5 all. Maintaining the same tactics that used yesterday, Blair thundered down smashes at the back and White intercepted the loose smash returns.  The Brits sealed the first game with a score line of 21-15.

In the second game, Songphon/Kunchala picked up their game and seemed more confident and pushed Blair/White to make mistakes. This created a lot points for the Thai pair. On top of that, a couple of short serves from White gave the Thai pair more points. Blair/ White lost the 2nd game 18-21 and were forced into a rubber game.

A couple of net and drive mistakes from the Thai pair gave Blair/White a 4 point lead in the start of the third game. The pair kept the momentum going until they reached the mid game intervals where they switched sides. Songphon/ Kunchala struggled to keep themselves afloat while Blair and White were all fired up.  In the end, they won with a score 21-17.

The semi-finals in mixed doubles will see He Hanbin / Ma Jin take on Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen whilst Tao Jiaming / Tian Qing will take on Robert Blair / Gabrielle White.

For complete quarter-final results from the 2011 Proton Malaysia Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

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