DENMARK OPEN 2012 SF – Chinese ladies bite the dust

Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi created the upset of the day on Saturday in the semi-final of the Yonex Denmark Open by beating top seeds Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei. […]

Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi created the upset of the day on Saturday in the semi-final of the Yonex by beating top seeds Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei. Meanwhile Saina Nehwal and Juliane Schenk edged out Wang Yihan and Jiang Yanjiao respectively in the singles.

By Kira Rin. Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live)

If the Japanese women’s doubles pairs have such a solid defense that it can be dubbed the “strongest shield”, something similar along the lines of the “strongest spear” could be said for their attack.  With this mix of solid defense and precise attacks, the Japanese duo of Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (photo) managed to seize a game off top seeds and Olympic gold medalists Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei, leaving the Chinese pair wondering what went wrong with their attack. Out of options, Tian/Zhao went on a full attack, slowly breaking down the Japanese’s defensive wall and finally hitting home the last point to force a deciding game.

In the final game, Matsutomo/Takahashi turned their playing style around completely, hitting the shuttle down while only defending as needed, thus utilizing their “strongest spear”. The attackers were rewarded well, with the Chinese pair finding no reply for the speed and precision. Thus Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi can now boast of being one of the few pairs to have beaten the almost invincible Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei.

On the other side of the draw, it was all-Chinese affair as Ma Jin stepped on court a second time, with her partner Tang Jinhua. Just like the mixed doubles before, Ma Jin had a relatively easy path, defeating compatriots Bao Yixin and Zhong Qianxin in 2 straight games.

Wang, Jiang, out!

Fresh off beating Li Xuerui, Juliane Schenk played a wonderfully defensive game to edge out Jiang Yanjiao (photo) in yet another match to go the distance on semi-finals day. Every attempt to retrieve the shuttle connected, forcing Jiang to continue the rally. With Jiang tired out from the long rallies, Juliane was able to close out the final game at 21-15.

Having battled against Wang Yihan countless times and staring at defeat, Saina had a clear battle plan for her rival. However that wasn’t needed as Wang had to retire halfway through the second game due to an injured right knee. The knee was already heavily strapped but this tape was not enough to prevent further aggravation, the Olympic silver medallist choosing to retire so that she could rest her knee and live to hit another day.

We’ve both had a great tournament so far, so we’ll see who managed to save the most energy for tomorrow,” said a delighted Juliane Schenk about her final against Saina.

Mixed Doubles – 2 red flags

First match up was top seeds  Xu Chen and Ma Jin of China facing Malaysia’s Chang Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying. Xu and Ma took total control of the match, letting the Malaysians score a paltry 7 points in the first game. From the second game onwards, Chang and Goh fought back harder to make up for their one-sided opener but still couldn’t break free from Ma Jin’s control, and the match ended in an anti-climatic rally of continuous clears.

It was China’s turn to taste defeat in the next mixed doubles, with Tontowi and Liliyana pushing the fast pace of attack on Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei. For the Indonesian pair, this will be the second time they have defeated Zhang and Zhao in their 6 meetings, having had only one previous win, at last year’s Singapore Open.

Men’s Doubles – 2 old, 2 new

Two pairs of old and seasoned warriors stepped forth, to prove that they still have strength to swing their racquets for the sake of their partnerships. Way back in 2009, on this very same battleground, the Malaysians trumped over their adversaries in an intense match spanning 3 games. Today, this great battle once again played out in similar fashion, with very similar score lines. Both pairs proved that they still have the energy to pull off their specialties, with Koo playing his net shots while the Danes tried rushing with their quick flick smashes. Offense and defense changed sides as quickly, with both pairs vying for every important point. At the very end, Koo and Tan (photo) saved 2 match points against them and then took 5 match points before they emerged victorious from the 81 minutes of smash festival called doubles.

In the other match, 2 brand new pairs faced each other down. On one side was Hendra Setiawan, who only recently returned to the national team fold, pairing up with Mohammad Ahsan. On the other was Yoo Yeon Seong, now pairing with Shin Baek Cheol. Hendra found himself without his usual partner, and thus had to smash from the back, while leaving his favourite netplay position to Ahsan.  Not being able to control the game from his spot, Hendra and Ahsan tamely ceded the game to the Koreans in 2 fast games.

Chong Wei looking for yet another title

Having an Olympic medal would not necessarily mean that the player is unbeatable. For Chen Long, it was just being off form that cost him his chance at the Denmark Open title, a reminder that the players themselves are just humans, just as prone to making mistakes.

For Lee Chong Wei, he was in form all the way as he powered into the finals in 2 games. He was however, briefly pushed when Jan O. Jorgensen forced netplay and net kills in the first game. When it was looking gloomy, Lee Chong Wei just had to speed up to capture the first game and comfortably lead in the second. With the final point, Lee showed the last Dane the exit and will face off against Du Pengyu (photo) who beat an off-form Chen Long earlier.

All results HERE

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