AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2014 SF – Recipe for drama

Take an umpire who called fault receiver on both sides, add in a history of intense rivalry between east and west pairs, needing to win at deuce, a crowd that […]

Take an umpire who called fault receiver on both sides, add in a history of intense rivalry between east and west pairs, needing to win at deuce, a crowd that made their feelings known, stir and then bring to boil: that was the recipe for the drama that unfolded Saturday at the Star .

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Sydney.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

High blood pressure

In women’s doubles, patchy performances and controversial line and service calls all tournament have followed Olympic gold medallists Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei of China but they still had just enough to get through to the final over Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl (pictured above) of Denmark, 11-21, 22-20, 22-20. At crucial points in the closing moments of the last two games, the Chinese were brave enough to keep the shuttle flying flat and low during offense which jammed up either Dane. In these situations, Pedersen found it hard to guide the shuttle back as lightly as she wanted whereas Rytter Juhl was simply left without swinging room to defend because she is too tall.

Pedersen’s idiosyncratic preparation to serve drew jeers from half the crowd unfamiliar with her usual ritual as well as admiration by the other half for her calmness in the eye of the storm of what turned out to be the match of the day. It wasn’t beautiful badminton on display, mainly outright bludgeoning of the shuttle and gamesmanship.

Both Zhao Yunlei and Kamilla Rytter Juhl were faulted for moving before the serve was struck, but it was Tian Qing’s unexpected perfect flick serve on match point against the latter to conclude the thriller that really set off emotions and satisfied lovers of drama.

Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (pictured above) showed why are the world number 3 by causing the Luo twin sisters to become impatient and tangled for the first time this week. The Japanese, Matsutomo especially, simply read the game better than the Chinese 2012 champions, who themselves are already pretty astute, and the #2 seeds took the match, 21-16, 21-15.

Good versus great

Malaysia’s Tan Boon Heong / Hoon Tien How opened their account strongly against Korea’s Yoo Yeon Seong / Lee Yong Dae (pictured) but once the latter found rhythm, it turned out to be a men’s doubles match between a pair feeling good and a pair feeling fantastic respectively.

Tan/Hoon were producing fine smashes but Yoo’s dive defence unbelievably reached the shuttles and returned them with interest time and again to eventually win the match, 21-14, 21-16. Yoo/Lee are in the running to be the only ones in badminton who can win three Superseries titles within three weeks and it will be Taiwan’s Lee Sheng Mu / Tsai Chia Hsin job to try to prevent that in order to win their first Superseries title together.

Finals line-up
XD: Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [6] vs. Michael Fuchs / Birgit Michels (GER)
WD: Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [2] vs. Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [5]
WS: Saina Nehwal (INA) [6] vs. Carolina Marin (ESP)
MD: Lee Sheng Mu Tsai Chia Hsin (TPE) [3] vs. Lee Yong Dae Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [4]
MS: Lin Dan (CHN) vs. Simon Santoso (INA)

Click here for complete semi-final results

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @