SINGAPORE OPEN 2014 QF – Kim/Yoo seize the day

Kim Sa Rang / Yoo Yeon Seong finished the quarter-finals of Singapore Open Superseries today on a high note that left the Korean supporters cheering. They conjured a spectacular win […]

Kim Sa Rang / Yoo Yeon Seong finished the quarter-finals of today on a high note that left the Korean supporters cheering. They conjured a spectacular win over first seeds and world #1 duo Hendra Setiawan / Mohammad Ahsan of Indonesia with a satisfying 21-15, 13-21, 21-19 win.

By Serla Rusli, Badzine Correspondent live from Singapore Indoor Stadium. Photos (live) Badmintonphoto

Armed with an impressive array of major titles up their sleeve, including the World Championship and All England titles as well as countless Superseries wins, the Indonesians were the clear favourites for the tournament. However, the scratch pairing of Kim Sa Rang and Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured left) – which was formed following a year-long ban on their respective partners Kim Ki Jung and Lee Yong Dae – seemed to have worked splendidly against the defending champions Setiawan/Ahsan.

“Although the Koreans are a new pairing, we did expect them to be a very good one. We felt that we did play at our maximum level today, but they were simply the better players during the match,” explained Hendra.

The Indonesians indeed displayed solid attacks and defence, but they were answered with similar fashion from the Korean duo.

“Many times, we couldn’t seem to finish our opponents with our attacks. They were also more patient throughout the game, while we made a few unforced errors,” admitted Mohammad Ahsan (pictured right).

Those errors eventually cost Setiawan/Hasan the title in Singapore and they will have to pass the crown to a new champion this year.

The Koreans will take on fellow scratch men’s doubles pairing of Cai Yun / Lu Kai from China, who ousted Berry Angriawan / Ricky Karanda Suwardi from Indonesia with another hard-fought quarter-final match, 21-16, 18-21, 21-12.

The other half of the draw sees the semi-final clash between Lee Sheng Mu / Tsai Chia Hsin from Chinese Taipei and Ko Sung Hyun / Shin Baek Cheol from Korea.

The quarter-finals were decorated with a number of exciting matches in other disciplines as well.

The battle between third seed Misaki Matsumoto / Ayaka Takahashi and Suci Rizky Andini / Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah lasted for 91 minutes, comfortably the longest match of the tournament. The match produced an impressive scoreline of 30-29, 18-21, 22-20 in favour of the Japanese.

Matsumoto/Takahashi will face first seeds Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl (pictured left) from Denmark. Pedersen/Juhl, who are the only Europeans left in the tournament, beat another Japanese pair Reika Kakiiwa / Miyuki Maeda en route to the semi-finals with a 21-15, 21-5 finish.

China is confirmed a spot in the finals as the other leg of the semi-finals will be an all-Chinese match between Luo Ying / Luo Yu and second seed Bao Yixin / Tang Jinhua.

The badminton superpower also claimed a spot in the mixed doubles discipline after Liu Cheng / Bao Yixin (pictured right) defeated local heroes Danny Bawa Chrisnanta / Vanessa Neo in a convincing 21-12, 22-20.

“Our opponents managed to control both games. They kept attacking and we were only defending. We also made a lot of unforced errors which made a big difference in the game,” recounted Danny.

“I’m happy that we managed to reach the quarter-finals, which is our first. However, I’m sad because we did have a chance to win in the second game, but we just did not capitalise on it,” said Vanessa.

Liu/Bao will face the arduous task of overcoming first seeds Tontowi Ahmad / Lilyana Natsir, who beat Anders Kristiansen / Julie Houmann from Denmark in 21-8, 21-17.

The other half of the mixed doubles draw will be a match between Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na and Riky Widianto / Puspita Richi Dili.

Minor surprises in singles

The men’s and women’s singles top seeds seem to be unperturbed by the upsets happening in the doubles events.

World no 1 Lee Chong Wei once again effortlessly advanced to the next round. This time Thai youngster Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk received a taste of his prowess and had to concede to the crowd favourite in 21-8, 21-14.

Waiting at the other side of the court is Srikanth K from India, who survived a thrilling 17-21, 21-14, 21-19 match against Hu Yun in the quarter-finals.

The other half of the draw sees Simon Santoso take on Du Pengyu from China.

Sung Ji Hyun from Korea became the only non-Chinese women’s singles shuttler left in the draw. She will take on first seed Li Xuerui from China.

The other semi-final match would be an all-Chinese affair between Wang Yihan (pictured left) and Han Li. Wang Yihan successfully avenged her defeat last year to P.V. Sindhu in the World Championships.  This time, she beat the Indian in straight games, 21-19, 21-15. Han Li, meanwhile, upset the third seed and World Champion from Thailand Ratchanok Intanon in a surprisingly easy game of 21-14, 21-12.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

About Serla Rusli