GERMAN OPEN 2012 SF – Tea for two, two for Lee?

With solid performances against Japanese opposition, Lee Yong Dae is still in the running for two crowns at the Yonex German Open. A titleholder in the men’s doubles, the Korean […]

With solid performances against Japanese opposition, Lee Yong Dae is still in the running for two crowns at the Yonex . A titleholder in the men’s doubles, the Korean double specialist can prolong his title and add another one in the mixed doubles together with Ha Jung Eun.

By Elm Vandevorst, Badzine Correspondent.    Photos: Sven Heise (live)

It was with the mixed doubles that Lee Yong Dae (pictured) started his day in the Rwe-Sporthalle. Opposed to Shoji Sato and Shizuka Matsuo, the Korean third seeds had had fair warning. Sato and Matsuo had already eliminated another Korean pair in their quarter-final in straight games: Kim Ki Jung and Jung Kyung Eun. The Japanese twosome took the best start with a 23-21 win in the first. Nevertheless, the experience of their opponents gave them the upper hand, enough to prevail in both the second and third games.

After three intense games, Lee Yong Dae had no time to celebrate, but needed to prepare for his semi-final in the men’s doubles. Instead of being too tired, his earlier match seemed to be a good practice round. In about half an hour, Lee and Jung Jae Sung crushed Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa 21-12, 21-13.

Lee Yong Dae has quite a history in Germany.  Not only was the German Junior the site of his first international tournament victory when he was 15, but this tournament was where he and Jung Jae Sung won their first title together, in 2006.  Sunday will mark the duo’s fifth and last trip to the German Open final and they will be hoping to come away with a third title.

Juliane Schenk proved once again she’s one of the rare players able to compete and even beat China’s finest. Her latest victim became Hong Kong Open titleholder Wang Xin. Schenk was beaten twice by her rival last year, at both the French and Malaysia Opens, but the German seems to get stronger and stronger.

Her straightforward 21-14, 21-16 triumph today, must give her all the confidence she needs for tomorrow’s final against Li Xuerui (pictured right) in an attempt to defeat another Chinese top shuttler. Li, whose world ranking is now a career-high sixth, hasn’t lost a game so far and was only troubled in the first game of her semi-final. In the end, she overcame Gu Juan from Singapore 24-22, 21-14.

And there was more to add to the Chinese good news show. Hot title favourite Lin Dan eliminated Tommy Sugiarto 21-10, 21-11 and will now face another Indonesian shuttler: Simon Santoso. Furthermore Xia Huan and Tang Jinhua needed three games against compatriots Cheng Shu / Pan Pan to win 17-21, 21-12, 21-17.  And last but not least, men’s doubles pair Hong Wei and Shen Ye surprised second seeds Ko Sung Hyun / Yoo Yeon Seong.

While China and Korea seem to be the main contenders for the doubles titles tomorrow, Europe’s powerhouse Denmark has one iron left in the fire with Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl (pictured left). Last year’s runners-up Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam from Thailand were blown away in two short games as the Danes’ 21-15, 21-14 gives them, among other things, a huge amount of padding as they try to keep their ranking points in the top 8 range.

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