FRENCH OPEN 2014 SF – 4 teams down to 1

Denmark, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Indonesia all had their entries whittled down to one for finals day at the Yonex French Open Superseries but Chou Tien Chen was the ‘one’ […]

Denmark, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Indonesia all had their entries whittled down to one for finals day at the Yonex but Chou Tien Chen was the ‘one’ celebrating the most.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Of those booking their spots in the finals of the 2014 Yonex French Open Superseries, none was more ecstatic than Chou Tien Chen (pictured) of Chinese Taipei.  And little wonder.  Chou, playing in his first ever Superseries semi-final, followed a now somewhat familiar pattern and made the French Open his first ever final at the Superseries level.

Two years ago, 3 of the 4 French Open singles finalists were making their first appearances in a top tier tournament, but even they were at the end of a long list that includes such names as Li Xuerui, who made the 2010 French Open her first Superseries Sunday.  This time, Chou is the one following in their footsteps, though he’ll be hoping to duplicate the feat of Minatsu Mitani or Liew Daren by making this his first Superseries title as well.

Chou battled on court for 70 minutes against world #5 Tommy Sugiarto (pictured) of Indonesia, coming back from a game down to win it 21-19 in the deciding game.

The longest match on Saturday at the Stadium Pierre de Coubertin was the first one, between Japan’s comeback pair Shizuka Matsuo / Mami Naito and Ma Jin / Tang Yuanting (pictured) of China.  The Chinese pair also came back from a game down, sending the young Tang to her 5th Superseries final in the past year, where she and Ma will still be looking for their first international title together.

Japan quickly went down to a single finalist when Matsuo and Naito’s loss was immediately followed by the exit of Kento Momota.  The 20-year-old lost to his World Junior Champion predecessor Wang Zhengming in two straight.  Wang is now looking for his second career Superseries title.

It was, however, third time lucky for Japan. Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa saw off Lee Sheng Mu and Tsai Chia Hsin, the current Superseries leaders, in two games.  The Chinese Taipei pair will still finish the week atop the Destination Dubai standings but they have not yet mathematically clinched their ticket to the lucrative December tournament.

Before Chou had finished off Indonesia’s chances in singles, the archipelago’s top mixed pair had already booked a spot in the final to keep that particular red and white flag flying in Paris on Sunday.  Tontowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir (pictured) didn’t have quite as easy a time with Xu Chen and Ma Jin as they did in the Asian Games semi-final but they did make up for their loss in Denmark last Saturday.  Those two pairs sit on top of the Superseries rankings and have both clinched their tickets to Dubai, even though the Indonesians are staying home from the China Open.

England’s Chris and Gabrielle Adcock will be the challengers in the mixed final.  They dispatched Denmark’s Mads Pieler Kolding / Kamilla Rytter Juhl in three close games.  Denmark had to wait until the last match of the day to see success, as Boe/Mogensen shut down surprise semi-finalists Andrei Adistia / Hendra Aprida Gunawan in two straight.

Unlike England, Thailand was not able to celebrate their only semi-finalist proceeding to the final in Paris.  Ratchanok Intanon went down to Li Xuerui, who is now looking for her first French Open title in her third appearance in a final in the event.  Her opponent will be defending champion Wang Shixian, who beat two-time winner Wang Yihan in the other semi-final.

Finals line-up
WD: Ma Jin Tang Yuanting (CHN) [5] vs. Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (CHN) [7]
MS: Wang Zhengming (CHN) [5] Chou Tien Chen (TPE)
WS: Li Xuerui (CHN) [1] vs. Wang Shixian (CHN) [2]
XD: Tontowi Ahmad / Lilyana Natsir (INA) [3] vs. Chris Adcock / Gabrielle Adcock (ENG) [4]
MD: Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN) [1] vs. Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa (JPN) [2]

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 @