KOREA OPEN 2012 QF – Russian Perestroi…K(ore)a

Valeri Sorokina and Alexander Nikolaenko scooped their tickets to their first ever Super Series semi-final on Friday in the Victor Korea Open Super Series Premier. A reminder that Russia remains […]

Valeri Sorokina and Alexander Nikolaenko scooped their tickets to their first ever Super Series semi-final on Friday in the Victor Super Series Premier. A reminder that Russia remains one of the strong nations of badminton, especially in the mixed doubles category. They will be, together with Fischer-Nielsen and Pedersen, Europe’s only chance at taking gold, as China and Korea clinched most of the remaining semi-final spots.

Raphael Sachetat. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Valeri Sorokina and Alexander Nikolaenko (photo) may have been celebrating more than just a win, on Friday, over China’s He Hanbin and Bao Yixin. With this spot in the semi-final of a major event, the 24th best ranked pair in the mixed double event could have made a giant step to make it to London Olympics. With an added 7700 points at least, they should see themselves just outside the top 16 on next Thursday’s world ranking – a qualifying spot for the Olympics, and of course, they are getting far away from their friends – but rivals on court – Durkin and Vislova, who are 36th on the latest world rank.

And the Russians just didn’t earn this spot in the last four by luck. They played a splendid game against the Chinese, winning the first and third games, after another couple of great performances, against Thailand’s Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul, then against Mateusiak and Zieba, one of the best and most reliable pairs from Europe.

They’ll have to play their best game in Saturday’s semi-final as well, when facing Lee Yong Dae and Ha Jung Eun (pictured here with two young fans), as the Koreans are hot on home soil. They beat 4th seeds Ahmad and Natsir in three games as well. The lower part of the draw sees Denmark’s Fischer-Nielsen / Pedersen take on Xu Chen and Ma Jin, for a classic battle between two of the best pairs of the moment.

Jan O Jorgensen builds up confidence

Jan O Jorgensen (photo) did manage to take a game from the mighty Lin Dan. The Dane, sole European left in the draw, had never been able to achieve that but his recent win over Gade in their home Copenhagen Masters may have given him that extra bit of confidence. But after his 13-21, 21-8, 15-21, Jorgensen still hinted there was still a gap between him and Lin.

I think he just let go in the second when he was trailing 4-10. Maybe he was a bit afraid of my physical strength and realized it would take a lot of energy to get back for this game. But he is so confident that he can do that kind of thing. At 10-10 in the decider, there was a small chance… but anyways, I’m very happy with my performance overall here. It means a lot to have beaten a top 5 player,” said the Dane.

Lin Dan will take on Sho Sasaki, the Japanese warrior who beat him last summer in the Indonesia Super Series Premier (the Chinese Ace has beaten Sho twice since then, in straight games), while Lee Chong Wei once again passed the quarter-final exam without dropping a game against Kenichi Tago. He will take on China’s Du Pengyu, surprise winner over Simon Santoso.

Bae.. tiful !

In the women’s singles, the surprise came with the victory of Bae Youn Joo (photo) of Korea over Li Xuerui – a player she’s known since their junior days. Just like Wang Xin, she had never beaten Li before – twice in the senior circuit and twice as a junior, but this time was the good one, in front of her home crowd. She’s now the only chance for the rest of the world against China, as Wang Shixian – whom she’ll meet next – and Jiang Yanjiao and Wang Yihan have scooped the rest of the spots.

It will be the exact opposite in the men’s doubles, where Korea has three pairs, leaving Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng as only non-Korean in the semi finals. Lee and Jung face the youngsters Kim Sa Rang and Kim Ki Jung while Cai and Fu face Ko and Yoo.

The women’s doubles sees two Korea vs China battles as expected, with Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli still clear favourites to take the title on Sunday.

All results HERE

Badzine’s Photo gallery HERE

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Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.