JAPAN OPEN 2011 QF – Juliane Jumps Her Way To The Semis!

She dived, she jumped and she conquered!  Germany’s jewel Juliane Schenk did everything possible, physically and mentally, to overthrow a much higher seeded Chinese Wang Shixian in straight games 21-15, […]

She dived, she jumped and she conquered!  Germany’s jewel Juliane Schenk did everything possible, physically and mentally, to overthrow a much higher seeded Chinese Wang Shixian in straight games 21-15, 21-19, much to the delight of the Japanese crowd in the jam-packed Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

By Emzi Regala, Badzine Correspondent live in Tokyo.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

The 8th-seeded German dominated the opening game with her ferocious dives to save Wang’s deep smashes. Schenk capitalized on a miss by Wang that caused the shuttle to lift just above the net killing the bird while punctuating the play with a scary stare at her opponent.  Schenk earned herself a comfortable 19-13 lead and Wang could only win 2 more rallies before bowing in the first game to the German.

In the second game, Schenk miscalculated the bird’s flight several times, letting go of good lifts by her Chinese opponent Wang, most called ‘in’ by the line judges.  This caused Wang to even up at 19-19, stirring wild cheers from the big crowd.  Schenk, however, toughened it up and focused on getting the last two points that would be her ticket to the Super Series semis.

“This is the second time in two weeks that we played against each other.  Wang defeated me in the China Masters. It was a bit intimidating to play in front of Chinese supporters, but now I had more support from the Japanese audience and this helped me relax a little bit more,” said Schenk, who was all smiles during the post-match interview at the Mixed Zone.

“I don’t care who is standing in the other side of the court. I just go out there to enjoy the game, not thinking too much to win but just to be relaxed and do my best.  I am happy to be here and play!” the German replied when asked about her recently being called ‘China killer’.

“I don’t have a goal tomorrow during the semi-finals. I am just happy to have another chance to stand in court and play one more time in this Super Series,” added Schenk, who will be up against Saina Sehwal of India tomorrow in the semis.

On the other hand, the other European left in the draw, Tine Baun of Denmark, had to fight hard against the first seed and 2009 champion Wang Yihan in 3 punishing games that lasted for almost an hour and finally ended 21-17, 14-21, 21-15 in favour of the Chinese favourite.

Unfortunately for the Dane, who admitted that she got injured last week, Wang Yihan broke away in the final moments of the third game to book herself a date in the semi-finals against her Chinese compatriot Liu Xin.

“I’m not happy with my performance today: too many mistakes, I had bad plays, and I’m still very far from my best condition, which was in 2009.  But with the help of my coach and friends, I’m slowly getting better,” Wang told the reporters after the match.

In men’s doubles, Indonesia’s Markis Kido / Hendra Setiawan put an end to Korea’s ‘play for fun’ pairing of Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae.  The Koreans exit their first Super Series as a pair, but not without putting a gallant fight, though one that was one by the Asian Games gold medallists 21-10, 15-21, 21-14.

The 6th seeds will face another Indonesian pair, Mohammad Ahsan / Bona Septano, in one of tomorrow’s semi-finals. Ahsan/Septano had an easy 21-5, 21-16win against China’s Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan.

“We are very confident and we are ready to win tomorrow,” Septano told reporters after the victory.

China’s pride Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng had an easy dispatch of another Indonesian pair Alvent Yulianto Chandra / Hendra Aprida Gunawan needing only 24 minutes to end 2 games 21-12, 21-14.  The Chinese pair will be up against Malaysia’s Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong in the other men’s doubles semi-finals match tomorrow.  The Malaysian pair had a more difficult time before defeating their fellow Malaysians Goh Wei Shem / Lim Khim Wah in 3 games, 21-16, 19-21, 21-17.

“When we changed sides, we had difficulty seeing the bird, causing us to miscalculate and this in turn ruined our timing. That is the mainly the reason why we lost the second game,” Tan told Badzine after the match.

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About Emzi Regala