BITBURGER OPEN 2014 SF – Irish Eyes on Evans

The third and final major competition in three weeks is at the latter stages in Saarbrücken, with a mixture of European hope and new Chinese talent taking centre stage in the semi-finals.

By Eddie Smith, photos (live) by Sven Heise for Badmintonphoto

Scott Evans‘ (pictured) run this week has been impressive, but he left his best performance for today in his two-game victory over the 7th seeded H. S. Prannoy of India in an impressive 21-16, 21-10 victory to set up a meeting in the final against Chen Chou Tien (pictured below), winner last week in Paris. The world #8 holds a 2-0 head to head victory over Evans, with their most recent meeting at the U.S. Open in July being won in two games by the Chinese Taipei player.

The top two seeds in the women’s singles both lost out to Chinese opponents, with top seeded and current World Champion Carolina Marin losing to Sun Yu (pictured below left) in two games. Commonwealth Games gold medallist Michelle Li was defeated by He Bingjiao – who won silver at the World Junior Championships in April and gold at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing this year.  It was an impressive 21-16, 21-10 victory for He that took just 34 minutes to defeat an in-form Li, who reached a career high ranking of 14 this week.

The new Chinese pairing of Ou Dongni and Yu Xiaohan have been the story of the women’s doubles this week, defeating the top seeded Muskens and Piek in the second round, before toppling another European seed in Goliszewski and Nelte at the quarter-final stage. Today, they defeated their team-mates and 5th seeded Xia and Zhong in two games to reach the final, where they will take on the unseeded Russian pairing of Bolotova and Kosetskaya, who have reached their highest world ranking of #57 this week.

Chris and Gabby Adcock were the big European hope for a title this week, but were defeated by the Chinese pairing of Zheng and Chen. Chen Qingchen is the current girls’ and mixed doubles World Junior Champion but took to the court this week with a new partner in Zheng Siwei (pictured bottom with Chen) and have reached the final in their first event together.

Prasetya and Saufika will be their opponents in tomorrow’s final, with the Indonesian pair defeating the 2nd-seeded German pair of Fuchs and Michels in three games to set up their first meeting against the Chinese pair.

The final match of the day saw Anders Skaarup Rasmussen and Kim Astrup Sorensen defeating the 3rd seeded German pair of Fuchs and Schoettler to complete a disappointing day for the Germans and especially for Michael Fuchs, who lost both his semi-finals in three games. The Danish pair spoke after the match, commenting that their defence was the key to winning the match.

Click here for a video of the Rasmussen post-match interview, provided to Badzine courtesy of Sven Heise.

Finals line-up
WS: Sun Yu (CHN) [4] vs. He Bingjiao (CHN)
XD: Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [5] vs. Alfian Eko Prasetya / Annisa Saufika (INA)
MD: Anders Skaarup Rasmussen / Kim Astrup Sorensen (DEN) [5] vs. Wang Yilu / Zhang Wen (CHN) [6]
WD: Ou Dongni / Yu Xiaohan (CHN) vs. Ekanerina Bolotova / Evgeniya Kosetskaya (RUS)
MS: Chou Tien Chen (TPE) [2] vs. Scott Evans (IRL) [11]

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Eddie Smith