AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2012 SF – The art of Cheng Wen Hsing

Cheng Wen Hsing booked her spots in two finals at the Yonex Australian Badminton Open Grand Prix Gold, contributing to a dismal day for Japan. By Aaron Wong, live from […]

Cheng Wen Hsing booked her spots in two finals at the Yonex Australian Badminton Open Gold, contributing to a dismal day for Japan.

By Aaron Wong, live from Sydney.  Photos courtesy of Badminton Australia (live)

Soaking up & delivering power

True to description, Cheng Wen Hsing, who in the tournament magazine was named most indefatigable player in world badminton, has earned a spot in both women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Her mixed doubles accomplice, bespectacled Chen Hung Ling said he would prefer his partner play women’s doubles first like she did today, perhaps feeling this schedule is their four leaf clover. For her part, Cheng said “Don’t mind either way, it’s the same to me.”

Cheng revealed a little about her own qualities: “In mixed doubles, you have to enjoy taking the man’s smash and at the same time be sure to protect yourself.”

Her women’s doubles partner, Chien Yu Chin, in her alto speaking voice, described their style, saying, “We love to play a power game.  It’s what we do best,” as they take on China’s Luo twins, who are ranked 48 in the world.

Gong Zhichao’esque Sydney domination by Han Li

Very in-form Han Li of China, who started from the qualification rounds, dominated the highest seed left in the tournament, Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun in the ladies singles, thus avenging the loss she suffered at the Korean’s racquet last year at the Korea Hwasun Grand Prix Gold.

Sung’s inability to find her touch on bread and butter net shots was the deciding factor because they were both fine trading and retrieving power shots with each other.  Han Li’s signature shot is her reverse slice drop shot, which is executed with so much forearm pronation on the cross court as well as the straight ones.  It is deceiving and fittingly reminiscent of the ones Sydney Olympic gold medallist from China, Gong Zhichao, used to execute.

Sydney Harbour Bridge-shaped drop shot!

Bae Youn Joo was sneezing and seen using tissues during warm up and during her match intervals.  Korean coach, Kim Ji Hyun, said, “Not putting pressure on her for tomorrow’s final,” and gave a reassuring should rub to her protégé.

Nevertheless Bae dispatched Ai Goto, 21-13, 21-12, by taking advantage of her opponent’s shorter-than-net stature and forcing errors from the racquet of the Japanese lady.  At one point, the Korean forced Goto into such a backbreaking posture that her looping drop shot looked like the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, resulting in the easiest of anticipated net tap kills.

Men’s doubles: Superior pairs advanced

Both Taiwan’s Fang Chieh Min / Lee Sheng Mu and Indonesia’s Markis Kido / Hendra Setiawan were superior on paper and in reality, except that the latter pair needed three games to win today.

“I describe our playing style as relaxed.  We have always played like that throughout our career,” remarked the Taiwanese men after defeating Endo/Hayakawa 21-10, 22-20.

Markis Kido gave the crowd reason to smile because he delivered the entertainment of the day by producing his trademark jump smashes and grunts to the maximum such that a few times he framed his fourth multiple smash because he thought he ought to move forward after that one.

To have any chance of making another Olympic final Kido/Setiawan must win tomorrow’s final.  They have the ability, it’s all in whether they can execute on the day.  The answer could be in the question — they are the Olympic gold medallists after all.

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Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @