GERMAN OPEN 2013 SF – Europeans inch closer to the gold

Juliane Schenk reached the Yonex German Open final by denying Sayaka Takahashi a second straight upset while Danes Kristiansen/Houmann (pictured) continued their great run to an all-unseeded final. By Emzi […]

Juliane Schenk reached the Yonex final by denying Sayaka Takahashi a second straight upset while Danes Kristiansen/Houmann (pictured) continued their great run to an all-unseeded final.

By Emzi Regala, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Sven Heise (live from Mülheim)

The final scores alone don’t reveal the full drama behind the epic display of technical skills and willpower by both Juliane Schenk (pictured below) and Sayaka Takahashi in the semis of this year’s Yonex German Open Gold.  It took all of Juliane Schenk’s strength with a bit of home crowd advantage to be able to pull through a 21-17, 21-19 hard-fought victory over her equally determined Japanese opponent.  Now, there is but one that separates Schenk and the coveted gold – Wang Yihan.

Fresh from her impressive quarter-final victory over world#1 and reigning Olympic Champ Li Xuerui, Sayaki Takahashi (pictured below) showed tremendous confidence as she played net winners against her German opponent Schenk.  Although both women patiently rallied for opportunities to win a point, it was Schenk’s constant powerful attacks that pressured and eventually broke Takahashi’s defense to earn the necessary points needed to win.

“Today we played 50 minutes of high-class badminton,” said Schenk after her win.  “Takahashi is a great player who has the potential to reach the top 20 in short time.  I was lucky to control the match and was never under pressure.”

Schenk now needs to muster all her remaining energy reserves as she prepares to meet her final challenge of the tournament.  Schenk will tackle former world #1 and London Olympic silver medallist Wang Yihan in tomorrow’s fight for gold.  Wang herself needed over 1 hour before narrowly overcoming her semi-final opponent, Korea’s rising star Sung Ji Hyun, 21-19, 19-21, 21-19.

“I’m looking forward to the final with great pleasure – the support of my fans in Mülheim is fantastic.  I’m not in doubt about being able to play another match on this high level again,” added Schenk.

In the men’s singles, Tommy Sugiarto toppled second seed Boonsak Ponsana 21-19, 21-12 propelling himself to the finals against top seed Chen Long, who himself easily disposed of his less-experienced compatriot Qiao Bin 21-8, 21-16.

Mixed matches go the distance

New Korean pair Shin Baek Cheol / Jang Ye Na (pictured) started their match showing impressive control of the net against second seeds Robert Mateusiak / Nadiezda Zieba of Poland to take the first game 21-15.  The Polish pair got more aggressive in the second game, smashing at every opportunity to snatch the second game with a 21-18 victory forcing a rubber game.

The 2012 European Mixed Doubles champions continued their attacking strategy against their unseeded Korean opponents in the deciding game while the Korean pair stuck with their strategy of trying to maintain control of the net.  In the end, it was the fewer unforced errors by the Koreans that pull them through with a final score of 21-15, 18-21, 21-18.

At the other end of the draw, Chris Adcock and his renewed partnership with Gabrielle White finally succumbed to Danish pair Anders Kristiansen / Julie Houmann (pictured below) to put an end to the English pair’s impressive run at this year’s German Open.

Kristiansen/Houmann took the first game 21-19.  At the beginning of the second game, Adcock/White played more positively and was rewarded with a 2-point win in the second game, 21-19 to equalize the game count to 1 apiece.  The Danish pair was forced to play an extended 3rd and decider.  Kristiansen/Houman managed to turn the table around to their favour once more in yet another identical score as were the first two games, 21-19.

The men’s doubles finals will feature the younger generation of Chinese shuttlers battling against each other, while another Chinese pair Ma/Tang faces off with Korean pair Jung/Kim in tomorrow’s women’s doubles final match.

2013 Yonex German Open finals line-up
MD: Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan (CHN) [7] vs. Chai Biao / Hong Wei (CHN) [6]
MS: Chen Long (CHN) [1] vs. Tommy Sugiarto (INA) [8]
WD: Jung Kyung Eun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [4] vs. Ma Jin / Tang Jinhua (CHN) [5]
WS: Wang Yihan (CHN) [2] vs. Juliane Schenk (GER) [3]
XD: Anders Kristiansen / Julie Houmann (DEN) vs. Shin Baek Cheol / Jang Ye Na (KOR)

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Emzi Regala