ASIAN CHAMPS 2012 QF – The last ones standing: China, Korea and Japan

It will be up to the only three remaining countries to split the coveted glory of this year’s Badminton Asia Championships as Korea and Japan attempt to block a second […]

It will be up to the only three remaining countries to split the coveted glory of this year’s as Korea and Japan attempt to block a second straight continental sweep by home team China.

By Emzi Regala, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: China Foto Press (live from Qingdao)

The men’s singles and women’s singles semi-finals at the 2012 Badminton Asia Championships in Qingdao are all tagged with the red Chinese flags.  Korea and Japan came through with 2 representatives each in the doubles discipline.  Only two semi-finalists are really fighting for Olympic qualification, however, with no outcomes certain until the end of next week’s India Open.

Taipei’s Cheng Shao Chieh (pictured) tried everything she could to pacify the newly-crowned All England champ but the very sharp and confident Li Xuerui was far too aggressive, executing 14 smash winners against only 4 by the funky Taipei shuttler. Cheng Shao Chieh failed to recover from the lopsided 7-21 1st game, also giving away the 2nd game 12-21.

The tournament’s second seeds Hashimoto/Hirata (pictured) of Japan had an off game and surrendered to their Chinese opponents Hong/Shen in a disappointing straight-game loss 17-21, 11-21.  There was good news however for the land of the rising sun.  Endo/Hayakawa overcame the threat from the young Malaysians Goh/Lim in a three game thriller, 21-18, 16-21, 21-18.  The #3 Japanese pair could make up considerable ground on their compatriots with a win in Qingdao but to qualify for London, they would also have to follow this up with some brilliance in Delhi.

Another nerve-wracking 3-game decider was the mixed doubles match between Korea’s brand new pairing of Kang Ji Wook and Eom Hye Won against Indonesia’s 7th-seeded Rijal/Susanto.  After the Korean pair took the first game, 21-17, the Indonesian pair fought back to even the game one apiece with a 21-19 second game win.  Rijal/Susanto were much more in control of the net play, allowing them to keep up with the Koreans for most of the third game. It was, however, Kang and Eom who clinched the last 3 points to clinch a seat in the semi-finals.

China’s top four proceeded into the men’s singles semi-final round without incident.  Chen Jin will be hoping for a win in Qingdao to cement his world #4 position but with Gade’s early loss in Europe this week, he would need to light Delhi on fire in order to oust Chen from the top 4 and thus keep him from London.

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About Emzi Regala