HONG KONG OPEN 2014 SF – 2nd double-doubles final weekend for Zhao

China’s Zhao Yunlei will be making her second consecutive double-finals appearance in two weeks, once again making it to Sunday in both women’s and mixed doubles in Hong Kong, after […]

China’s Zhao Yunlei will be making her second consecutive double-finals appearance in two weeks, once again making it to Sunday in both women’s and mixed doubles in Hong Kong, after doing so in China last weekend.

By Emzi Regala.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

After winning one title and then narrowly missing out on a second in Fuzhou last Sunday, China’s Zhao Yunlei continues her medal haul in world badminton after winning both her semi-final matches to again proceed to both the women’s and mixed doubles finals, this time at the Yonex-Sunrise .  Ironically, the only final that China will miss is once again its traditionally strongest discipline, as Liu Xin could not find the solution against Tai Tzu Ying’s artistry in their women’s singles semi-final.

The first match of the day was a rematch from the final four last year.  That time, it was the then-newly-wed Chris Adcock and Gabby White who played more superbly than world #1s Zhao Yunlei / Zhang Nan (pictured).  This year, though, the Chinese pair made sure there would be no repeat of last year’s result as they took the shortest time on court with just over 30 minutes to dethrone the English couple 21-12 21-10.  Zhao/Zhang will take on their regular rivals, fellow Chinese Xu Chen / Ma Jin in the final.

Zhao Yunlei returned to the court for the women’s doubles semi-finals with her regular partner Tian Qing.  Zhao/Tian wasted no time suppressing their younger teammates Luo Ying / Luo Yu, downing them in two straight games 21-19 21-11.

Now, the former world #1s from China must battle for the gold medal against the current world #1s Ayaka Takahashi / Misaki Matsutomo from Japan.  Takahashi/Matsutomo played to their seeding and avenged their disappointing loss in the Asian Games finals against the newly rejuvenated pair from Indonesia Maheswari/Polii 21-16, 21-15.

The crowd was treated to over an hour of consistent display of artistry from Tai Tzu Ying (pictured), who was against Liu Xin, the last women’s singles player standing for China for the second week in a row.  Tai’s deception and the way she threw her body in impossible angles not only earned the points needed to overcome her rival, but also prevented the possibility of a Chinese title sweep, which has happened three times at the Hong Kong Open.

Tai will contest the gold against Nozomi Okuhara, who will be making her first appearance in a final after she easily dispatched the current World Champion Carolina Marin.  Okuhara was the teenager to watch after winning 2012 World Junior Championship hosted by her home country in Japan but injuries plagued her young career, at one time causing her to be dropped from the 1st national team.

Last week’s China Open winner Srikanth had his brief moments in the second game against men’s singles World Champion Chen Long but it turned out that winning against the Olympic champion and then the World Champion in two consecutive weeks proved too much of a task for the 21-year-old from India.  Long’s final task will be against Korea’s Son Wan Ho (pictured), who prevented Jan Jorgensen from making it to the finals, dominating their third game 21-6.

Ahsan/Setiawan narrowly escaped elimination against unseeded semi-finalists from Denmark Mads Conrad-Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding (pictured), coming through 21-19 in the final game. The second seeds from Indonesia are booked in a final match against the pair from China Liu/Qiu who also had to spend 3 full games before pacifying another unseeded opposition, this time from Japan’s Sonoda/Kamura.  Liu/Qiu are looking for their first Superseries title since they won two straight back in the spring of 2013.

Finals line-up
WD: Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [1] vs. Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [2]
WS: Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) [6] vs. Nozomi Okuhara (JPN)
MS: Chen Long (CHN) [1] vs. Son Wan Ho (KOR) [6]
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [1] vs. Xu Chen / Ma Jin (CHN) [2]
MD: Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan (INA) [2] vs. Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan (CHN) [6]

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Emzi Regala