SUPERSERIES FINALS 2014 SF – Hans-Kristian gets nearer the top

Hans-Kristian Vittinghus scored a first-ever international victory over compatriot Jan O. Jorgensen to reach the final of the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals while the legendary Zhao Yunlei is […]

Hans-Kristian Vittinghus scored a first-ever international victory over compatriot Jan O. Jorgensen to reach the final of the BWF Destination Dubai World while the legendary Zhao Yunlei is in the familiar spot of being up for two titles.

By Tarek Hafi.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live from Dubai)

Sunday’s final of this very elite event will be a first in the career of the hard-working Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (pictured right).  There, he will face the current World Champion Chen Long. Vittinghus is probably living the dream at the moment, reaching his first ever final of an event this big, consequences of all the hard work the Dane has put in for the past several years to put his career on a successful path.  The twenty-eight year-old player outplayed Jan O. Jorgensen, winning in only thirty-seven minutes to score a first ever victory over his compatriot in international competition.

It’s hard to describe how much this win means to me, but although I’m enjoying the moment, I’m also trying to stay focused as I still have a job to do tomorrow,” commented the Dane on his Facebook page.  “The final will be against World Champion Chen Long, so I’ll need to be on top of my game again and give it my all.”

And as the sole European player active on finals day of the Finals, he will indeed be playing the current World Champion, for the second time this week.  He already played Chen in the group stage and lost in three games.  If he can turn the tables, it will be his first ever title.  Considering Chen Long will be world #1 next Thursday, Vittinghus is in the same position as Hong Wei and Liu Cheng in having to beat the world’s best if he wants this to be his first career title.

Two Finals finals in a row for Tai

Tai Tzu Ying (pictured), meanwhile, qualified for her second final in a row at the Superseries Finals by defeating Saina Nehwal in three games.  The young talent from Chinese Taipei beautifully came back from a game down to eventually dominate the remaining points against the Indian player who has been the star at this Hamdan Sports Complex as far as the fans are concered.

The deceptive ace from Taiwan never seemed impressed by the numerous Indian fans who heavily supported their country’s superstar.  The first game conceded 11-21, Tai Tzu Ying released her usual deceptive and original game to counter-attack her opponent’s lethal attacks.

The 2013 runner-up will meet Sung Ji Hyun, who left absolutely no chance to her younger opponent Akane Yamaguchi, obviously exhausted from her group matches, which all went to three games.

Sung, who played her first knockout stage match in the Superseries Finals, will be expecting a tough match against Tai Tzu Ying as they played six three games fight in eight encounters, both having won four each.  Last year at the Superseries Finals, it was Sung’s loss to Tai that saw the Korean fail to emerge from the group stage for the third consecutive year.

Logical end in sight?

It was only logical that Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured) would qualify for their first Superseries Finals together, seeing how the Koreans dominated the men’s doubles circuit this year.  On their way to the final, Lee and Yoo proved to have all the necessary weapons to defeat Denmark’s Carsten Mogensen and Mathias Boe, who were playing in their seventh semi-final in a row in this prestigious event.

However, the world #1 are now set to meet Chai Biao and Hong Wei (pictured bottom), the same pair that defeated them in the group stage earlier this week.  This puts even more pressure on the shoulders of the Koreans, asked to deliver, considering the fantastic season they had this year.

One never enough for Zhao

Is Zhao Yunlei ready for a third doubles double this year? It seems like the Chinese living legend is about to do so as she qualified for two of the year’s final finals.

The Olympic and World Champion first stepped the court with her other half Zhang Nan (pictured left with Zhao Yunlei), facing the formidable English Chris and Gabrielle Adcock and they absolutely took it to the married couple.  The top seeds sealed the encounter in a bit more than half an hour.

They were later joined by their in-form compatriots Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin (pictured below), who also swept away their European opponents, in this case Joachim Fischer Nielsen and the only player ever to win a doubles double at the Superseries Finals, Christinna Pedersen.

A few hours later, the ever-smiling Chinese ace came back to the court number one, this time with Tian Qing, set to meet Jung Kyung Eun and Kim Ha Na of Korea.  And the score couldn’t have been more severe as the Koreans only scored nine points per game.

Zhang and Tian won’t get a chance to play their compatriots in the final, however. Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi took almost one hour and forty minutes to get rid of Luo Ying and Luo Yu, getting this well deserved place in the final, where they will hope for a resounding finish to their very consistent season.

Finals line-up
MD: Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [1] vs. Chai Biao / Hong Wei (CHN)
WD: Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) [1] vs. Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [3/4]
MS: Chen Long (CHN) [1] vs. Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (DEN)
WS: Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) vs. Tai Tzu Ying (TPE)
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [1] vs. Liu Cheng / Bao Yixin (CHN)

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Tarek Hafi