SUPERSERIES FINALS 2013 Day 3 – Koreans in by point, game, or match

Bae Yeon Ju and Ko/Lee both emerged on top of 3-way ties to advance to the semis of the BWF Superseries Finals but it was Boe/Mogensen who really just squeaked […]

Bae Yeon Ju and Ko/Lee both emerged on top of 3-way ties to advance to the semis of the BWF Finals but it was Boe/Mogensen who really just squeaked in, past Japan’s Endo/Hayakawa.

By Nadhira Hafsha and Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The final day of round robin preliminary action at the 2013 BWF began with the most interesting of finishes.  When the dust cleared on Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae’s straight-game victory over Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa, the men’s doubles Group B had an impossibly even three-way tie.

Both the Koreans and Japanese, along with Denmark’s Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen, had won-lost records of 1-1 in matches, and 2-2 in games and even their point totals were nearly identical.  It was the Koreans who were under the gun this afternoon, coming into their match winless, but such was the decisive nature of their victory that they finished atop their group with the only positive point differential.

The Danes, meanwhile, were waiting at the hotel with trepidation as Endo/Hayakawa erased a first, and then a second, match point but the Koreans stopped them just in time as earning a single additional point and dropping their game 18-21 would have been enough to push Boe/Mogensen, whom they had beaten yesterday, out of the semi-finals.  That single point also cost Endo and Hayakawa the US$3,500 between a third place and a semi-finals finish.

Later on, Ko/Lee’s compatriot Bae Yeon Ju did her part by taking one game from India’s Saina Nehwal in that battle of former runners-up.  Shortly thereafter, Li Xuerui’s straight-game win over Minatsu Mitani created another three-way tie.  This time, Bae’s extra game won was enough to put her in the lead to accompany Li into the semis.

Two Koreans did do it the traditional way, by winning a match.  The first of these was a nice birthday gift for Jang Ye Na, who advances along with Kim So Young to the semis in her first appearance at the Superseries Finals.  She qualified in two disciplines last year but had to withdraw at the last minute with an ankle injury.

One upset to go to the semis

Day 3 was rather short on upsets, however.  The only one that affected qualification for the semi-finals was Tai Tzu Ying’s victory over Sung Ji Hyun. It was a sweet win for the 19-year-old Tai, who is the youngest competitor in this year’s Superseries Finals.  It was her first win against the Korean this year, after she’d lost in the finals of both the Universiade and her home Grand Prix Gold, the Chinese Taipei Open.

“In the first game, I felt that the wind was against me,” Tai explained.  “I took the lead several times but failed to take the first game.  At the interval of the second game, I was suddenly able to catch up.

“I’m still not sure who my opponent will be in the semi-final.  Whoever it is, I will try my best,” said Tai, who is only accompanied by her parents, who flew all the way to Malaysia.

Malaysia sends two to the final four

Malaysian ace Lee Chong Wei made his way to the semi-finals unbeaten as he edged by Jan O. Jorgensen 23-21, 24-22 in one of only two contests on the day between two who had already clinched their semi-final spots.  Meanwhile, the home nation’s #2 men’s doubles pair Hoon Thien How / Tan Wee Kiong failed to continue their journey when Korean’s Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang beat them 21-18, 22-20 in just 46 minutes of play.

“Overall I’m happy about our performance in this tournament and hopefully next time will be better,” Tan said. “In the second set, we rushed things on some critical points and we ended up making so many unforced errors.”

The late night Indonesia vs. Malaysia clash between Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying and Markis Kido / Pia Zebadia was won by the Malaysians 21-18 21-19, thus failing to produce a third three-way tie.

Two more favourites – both World Champions who had already qualified – dropped their last matches.  First China’s Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang fell to Denmark’s Pedersen/Rytter Juhl in three and then Ahsan/Setiawan were beaten by Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan.  Liu/Qiu are the only one of the four who will not be in action on Saturday.

Challenge system gets it right!

Players seem to be warming to the challenge system as of Day 3 of the event. Some players think that it’s good that BWF starting to make a big move.

“It’s a very good system but I think it will be better if they not only show the replay on their computer screens but also show it on the big screen,” said 2010 champion Wang Shixian.

Click here for complete Day 3 results

About Nadhira Rahmani