ASIAN CHAMPS 2014 SF – Sung vs. Wang III

For a third time, Sung Ji Hyun will face Wang Shixian in the final of a major tournament at home. Story and photos by Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in […]

For a third time, Sung Ji Hyun will face Wang Shixian in the final of a major tournament at home.

Story and photos by Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Gimcheon

For the 6th time in just over 4 years, Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun (pictured) will be appearing in the women’s singles final of a major tournament on Korean soil.  And for the third time, her opponent will be world #2 Wang Shixian, this time at the 2014 in Gimcheon.

Sung was against the ropes in her first game against Sayaka Takahashi but found her rhythm in the second to finish the match off in straight games.  Sung had begun the year with a win over her Japanese opponent but then Takahashi got the better of her at the German Open several weeks later.  On that occasion, Sayaka had a family thing going, as she and sister Ayaka both went on to win titles in Mulheim.

Sung Ji Hyun’s family was the one close by in Gimcheon but she explained what else mattered: “To begin with, the hall here and the one in Germany are different, so that was something I had to get used to.  Then, of course, I was playing in Korea here, and I’ve played in this hall before and adapting is always easier when there are Korean fans here to support me, to give me strength.

“For tomorrow, playing Wang Shixian in a final in Korea is something I’ve gotten used to doing.  I think I can play comfortably, without pressure, relying on the support from the crowd.”

Wang and Sho say enough is enough

Wang Shixian (pictured) looked to be at a loss in her first game against P. V. Sindhu.  The 18-year-old Indian had, of course, scored her first of three wins over Wang in the 2013 edition of these championships and after losing her first at the India Open, was on the verge of getting back to dominating the Chinese ace when she earned match point in the second game.

But by then, Wang Shixian had clearly had enough and she clawed back to take the second game before running away with the decider.  Clearly frustrated at her inability to close the deal, Sindhu let her anger out on her racquet after leaving the hall.

Meanwhile, Sho Sasaki (pictured below) may not have had any history with his little-known opponent Hwang Jong Soo, but he was determined to put a stop to the Korean’s giant-killing ways of this week.  He spent nearly an hour on court but kept a comfortable margin as he booked his spot in a final on Korean soil for the first time.

“I think it was difficult for my opponents to get used to playing against me,” said Hwang Jong Soo after the match.  “I haven’t really been playing that many tournaments.  I can easily find their past matches and analyse how they play but they really can’t do the same for me.

“With Sho Sasaki, I was able to do the same.  I could analyse how he plays.  Once I got into the match, though, I was really able to feel what it’s like to play him and I found that he is really fast, certainly much faster than me.  Apart from that, though, I thought our playing style was quite similar.

“Nothing is definite yet but I am hoping to play in the Thomas Cup.  This tournament, as well as the Korea Open, are kind of like testing grounds for those of us who don’t play overseas much but because the tournament is in Korea, we really wanted to try hard for good results regardless.

“Of course, I really hope to play more tournaments in the future.  I really need to train harder to improve at this point, and I need to improve my speed.  Apart from that, it’s just a matter of analysing how my opponents play and bring the game that I need to win against each opponent.  I hope I can do that, and keep trying and do even better at the next tournament.”

There was no surprise earlier in the afternoon when Sho Sasaki learned that they would be playing for the opportunity to face Lin Dan (pictured) in the final.  Lin made quick work of compatriot Liu Kai, again drawing extensively on his backhand and his defensive skills but he also displayed some acrobatic diving around the court to add to the spectacle of his one-sided win.

Finals line-up
XD: Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah (HKG) [3] vs. Shin Baek Choel / Jang Ye Na (KOR) [4]
WD: Kim Ha Na / Jung Kyung Eun (KOR) [2] vs. Luo Ying / Luo Yu (CHN)
MS: Lin Dan (CHN) vs. Sho Sasaki (JPN)
WS: Wang Shixian (CHN) [1] vs. Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) [4]
MD: Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen (CHN) vs. Shin Baek Cheol / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR)

Click here for complete semi-final results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @