SS FINALS 2012 SF – Wang makes it to Sunday

The afternoon semi-final matches at the CR Land BWF Superseries Finals in did not attract as many spectators as expected, with so many stars missing or already eliminated, but Wang […]

The afternoon semi-final matches at the CR Land BWF in did not attract as many spectators as expected, with so many stars missing or already eliminated, but Wang Shixian and China’s two top mixed pairs gave the crowd on hand a worthwhile show.

By Renee Yang, Badzine Correspondent live in Shenzhen.  Photos: Arthur Van Der Velde for Badmintonphoto (live)

First up was Ratchanok Intanon taking on 2010 champion Wang Shixian.  The 17-year-old Thai had a 1-2 record against Wang going into today’s match, having won their only previous encounter on Chinese soil, last autumn.

Ratchanok was tense and started slow in the first game, making several unforced errors, and her touch at the net also seemed absent.  Wang thus had an advantage against Ratchanok on net play, and her tactics of hitting shuttles to Ratchanok’s backhand baseline worked very well and gave her many chances to attack.  The Chinese favourite easily took the game in 21-12.

During game 2, Ratchanok’s feel came back and she found a way to compete with Wang on net play, but she still unable to rein in the errors.

“I’m happy, I haven’t played until Saturday for quite a long time, as I was always eliminated on Thursday and Friday,” Wang told reporters with a hint of self mockery.

“I have played better in this event, but it doesn’t mean I’ve passed my bottleneck period.  I need more ordeals in the coming events to improve my mental strength, to become more mature and able to stand when meeting big difficulties.  If so, I could say I did not waste my time this year.”

Of her rival Ratchanok, Wang said, “I think her style of play is advanced, especially during her match against Tine Baun last night.  You can see her attacking is explosive.  I didn’t expect to win so easily in the first game.  Maybe she is a slow starter.  In the second game, she played better and did gave me trouble, but I made fewer mistakes at crucial points and won the match.”

Another Olympic final repeat

The first mixed doubles semi-final was the second repeat of an Olympic gold medal match this week.  Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei seem to be close to unbeatable for their rivals, holding a head-to-head record of 10-2 against Xu Chen / Ma Jin.  In fact, the two matches they have lost to Xu/Ma came with retirements due to injury.

When Xu/Ma lost to Zhang/Zhao in the final of the Olympic Games, this became a particular sadness in their career; however, this pair soon cheered up and performed very well after Olympic Games by taking two titles in Premier events, the Denmark and China Opens.  While Zhang/Zhao were busy on social activities and lack of practice, it presented a prime opportunity for Xu/Ma to rewrite their records.

In the first game, Xu/Ma did better on attacking and took the game in 21-16.  But in the second, Zhang/Zhao concentrated on serve and return, and their first three strokes were also much faster and sharper than their opponents’.  They soon took the game and forced to rubber.

During deciding game, Xu/Ma changed their tactics to compete with Zhang/Zhao on net, once leading 4 points ahead, but in the middle of game, they made more mistakes than their rivals, Zhang/Zhao took the advantage to widen the lead to 19-14.  Xu/Ma fought back and got 4 points in a row, but it was too late, a slip’s twixt the cup and the lip, they lost again for the 11th time.

As for other semi-final matches this afternoon, Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang didn’t meet much resistance and beat Shizuka Matsuo / Mami Naito convincingly in straight games.  Not surprisingly, Hu Yun lost to Chen Long in straight games while Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam lost to Olympic bronze medallists Fischer Nielsen/Pedersen.

That still leaves an evening session when four more Danes will attempt to make their way into the finals at these Finals.

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Ying Yang