CANADA OPEN 2011 SF – Cheng and Michels book one each, prepare for second

The mixed doubles at the 2011 Yonex Canada Open will finally finish on seed after some young challengers pushed both semi-finals to three games. By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live […]

The mixed doubles at the 2011 Yonex will finally finish on seed after some young challengers pushed both semi-finals to three games.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Richmond.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Semi-finals day at the 2011 Yonex Canada Open began with some gripping mixed doubles action, even if it was the top two seeds who booked their spots in the finals.

First up, it was Chen Hung Ling / Cheng Wen Hsing of Chinese Taipei who hled on to ensure they were not the latest victims of reigning World Junior Champion Liu Cheng and partner Luo Ying.  The Taiwan pair were never really in the first game, which they dropped 14-21, but they successfully turned the tables in the second and third to send the young Chinese packing.

“They are very young so it is possible to get them to make mistakes,” said Cheng Wen Hsing after her match, “but in the first game we did not play very well.

“From the second game, we were able to see the shuttle better and we also started to slow down our shots and that seemed to work better.

“I feel good playing here because I won a title here last year, although I wish the lighting were different to make it easier to see.  I hope that Chen, since he hasn’t won here yet, will really want the victory in the final.

“The crowd support has been good, although when I hear them yell ‘Jiayou!’, I know they are cheering for China but it’s still okay.”

While that one finished, even more drama was brewing in the adjacent court, where Liu’s predecessor, 2009 World Junior Champion Maneepong Jongjit of Thailand, was facing Germany’s Michael Fuchs for the second day in a row.

Fuchs had erupted in anger during his men’s doubles quarter-final late Friday evening, remarkably escaping even a yellow card despite screaming complaints at the service judge that Maneepong’s serve was fluttering because of the feathers being hit first.

For most of the 60-minute mixed doubles semi-final, it was the shots themselves doing the talking.  Like in the other semi-final, the young upstarts started strong and took the first game but then faltered in the second and trailed in the third.  Unlike with the Chinese, however, the Thais mounted a fierce comeback late in the deciding game.

Ironically, the Thais’ comeback was kicked off when they inched up to 14-18, when Michael Fuchs yelled ‘Out!’ at the line judge and was shown the yellow card.  Maneepong then took over at the net for the next rally and moved the Thais one step closer, then let Savitree take the front position for another net kill to bring up 16-18.

Things got a little odd at that point, as Fuchs was looking down while Maneepong was beginning his serve, a let was called, and the Thai put the shuttle into the net.   When his opponent was given another chance at serving in, Fuchs merely smiled, then proceeded to win the next point and close in on the victory.

In the end, the Thais just couldn’t keep their returns close enough to the net and the Germans knocked enough net kills down to close out the win in the deciding game 21-19.

The win by Fuchs and Birgit Michels brings up another instalment in a growing rivalry, especially on this Pacific coast.  Each pair beat the other during last summer’s North American tour, and each time the winner proceeded all the way to the final.

Of course, both Cheng Wen Hsing and Birgit Michels finished their first semi-finals and prepared to meet China, where they would attempt to set up a repeat of the 2010 women’s doubles final.

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @