MACAU OPEN 2011 SF – Generation Gap

While 31-year old Lee Hyun Il overcame a familiar face in the semis, a compatriot eleven years younger earned her place in the final, together with Jang Ye Na.  A […]

While 31-year old Lee Hyun Il overcame a familiar face in the semis, a compatriot eleven years younger earned her place in the final, together with Jang Ye Na.  A good day for the Korean delegation, as well as for team China.  The two archrivals remain the only two nations left in tomorrow’s final, except for the mixed doubles.

By Elm Vandevorst, Badzine Correspondent.   Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

Held at the Nave Desportiva Dos Jogos da Asia Oriental de Macau-Arena – the name a reminder of the time Macau was a Portuguese colony – Lee Hyun Il found a man he knows all too well at the other site of the net: Muhammad Hafiz Hashim.  Lee, who had retired after the 2008 Olympics but made a comeback in April 2010, has fought out many duels with his adversary.  Today there was a clear difference between the two shuttlers as the Korean easily won in half an hour 21-16, 21-11.  He will now meet Du Pengyu.  The Chinese shuttler needed almost an hour to get rid of Simon Santoso, but still prevailed in straight games 21-12, 21-17.

The second Korean-Chinese clash will be contested between Ko Sung Hyun / Yoo Seong Yoo and Chai Biao / Guo Zhendong.   The first, China Open runners-up, demolished Indonesia’s Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Hendra Aprida Gunawan with a very straightforward 21-13, 21-18.  It was their third consecutive victory against the Indonesians this year after earlier wins in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Tomorrow’s opponents Chai Biao and Guo Zhendong found worthy adversaries in Fang Chieh Min and Lee Sheng Mu.  The world number sevens found themselves in a challenging situation at 17-all in the opener, but four points in a row were enough to claim the first game.  After more of the same in the game two, the Chinese twosome even had to erase a game point at 21-20, but once again came out victorious 23-21.

Even if both Lee as well as Ko/Yoo fail, Korea will not leave Macau empty-handed.  In an all-Korean women’s doubles final, one of the nation’s upcoming talents, Eom Hye Won, will try to go all the way alongside Jang Ye Na.   After a true thriller, they surmounted the Japanese obstacle named Miyuki Maeda  / Satoko Suetsuna.  The latter fought themselves back into the match after losing the first.  While everyone expected the Japanese favourites to take the rubber as well, the Koreans almost effortlessly took game three 21-13.  Now eight seeded duo Jung Kyung Eun and Kim Ha Na remain the last hurdle.

With Korea dominating the women’s doubles, China overshadows their adversaries in the singles.  In a true David-and-Goliath story, Han Li has to upset the absolute favourite Wang Shixian.  The presence of the latter in the final is no surprise.  The world’s number two had to defeat titleholder Li Xuerui in order to advance to the final and in spite of losing the opening game 20-22, she picked up her game and convincingly claimed the second and third game 21-11 21-16.  Han Li, on the other hand, was not expected in the finals.  After she had to wade trough the qualifications, the Chinese caused her first upset by crushing World Junior Champion Ratchanok Intanon.   Even though she already played six matches, Han hasn’t lost a game so far.

There would have been a dream final in the mixed, the only one without Korean or Chinese participants, with top seeded Tontowi Ahmad and  Liliyana Natsir and second seeds Chen Hung Ling / Cheng Wen Hsing.  The Indonesians hold a good record against their rivals from Taiwan and have won their last encounters at the Singapore Open and more recently at the French Open.  However, the Japan Open champions were unable to continue after winning their semi-final over Muhammad Rijal / Debby Susanto and they had already announced their withdrawal from the tournament, due to injury, by the time Ahmad/Natsir had booked their ticket to the final.

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About Elm Vandevorst