ASIAN CHAMPS 2014 SF – Xia and Zhang finally stopped

Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei and Chau Hoi Wah finally put an end to the run by new Chinese pair Zhang Wen / Xia Huan. Story and photos by Don […]

Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei and Chau Hoi Wah finally put an end to the run by new Chinese pair Zhang Wen / Xia Huan.

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

After downing current and former top ten mixed doubles pairs on consecutive days, China’s Zhang Wen and Xia Huan were unable to make their way into the final of the Gimcheon .  Blocking their way were 3rd seeds Lee Chun Hei and Chau Hoi Wah (pictured).  The Hong Kong duo let their Chinese opponents take a slight lead in the second game before clamping down and finishing the match in straight games.

Avoiding the fate that befell Ko/Kim and Chen/Cheng before them at the hands of the new Chinese combination, Lee and Chau booked a place in their first final since their back-to-back Grand Prix titles last summer in Canada and the United States.

“Actually we didn’t really prepare for our opponents, we just prepared for ourselves, for the troubles that we might have,” said Chau Hoi Wah (pictured) afterward.   “I think my partner and I can be proud of how we performed today.

“We actually did well and made the semis of the Asian Championships last year so doing well here again means that we have something to show for all our hard work and we’ll keep on working hard to keep doing well against the world’s best.

“We’ve played Shin and Jang before, in Singapore, and we lost but we’re just going to focus on ourselves for tomorrow’s match.

“We will both be preparing for the Thomas and Uber Cups after this tournament.  We are just going to try to relax and enjoy ourselves.  There is such a big difference between mixed and doubles so we’ll just try to do our best for our team-mates.

Chau denied that they would be feeling pressure as the last flag bearers for a Hong Kong team that really made its mark this week, in particular by disposing of two #1 seeds: “The one good thing about Hong Kong is that we never feel pressure.  We can just enjoy every match.”

Opposite them in the final is a home pairing in two senses of the word.  Shin Baek Cheol and Jang Ye Na (pictured) succeeded where their compatriots Yoo/Eom had failed yesterday, in beating veteran 2nd seeds Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam.  But Shin and Jang are not only a Korean pair playing in Korea.  In fact, both of them play for the Gimcheon City Hall professional team and so their result is even more meaningful.

Shin Baek Cheol did not stop there, either.  He and Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured) also reeled in Maneepong Jongjit and Nipitphon Puangpuapech in the second game to win their men’s doubles semi-final in straight games as well.  In the final, the Koreans will meet the towering India Grand Prix Gold champions Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen.

In fact, the last time Korea hosted the Badminton Asia Championships, it was held in Suwon, where Yoo Yeon Seong had just been signed as a pro player.  Just as Yoo celebrated his new home by reaching two finals in 2009, so Shin did his local supporters proud by reaching the corresponding two finals five years later.  All he can hope for now is to do one – or two – better than Yoo’s take of two silvers in 2009.

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 @