SWISS OPEN 2015 SF – Bao and Lu go for 2, China for 4

It was an almost perfect day for China at the semi-finals of the Swiss GPG, winning five out of six matches, including two each for Bao Yixin and Lu Kai. […]

It was an almost perfect day for China at the semi-finals of the Swiss GPG, winning five out of six matches, including two each for Bao Yixin and Lu Kai.

By Brandon Redekop, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Sven Heise for Badmintonphoto (live)

It wasn’t the most auspicious of starts to the week for Team China.  In the men’s singles second round, their highest-ranked player, world #11 and 2014 runner-up Tian Houwei, suffered an upset at the hands of world #41 Kazumasa Sakai of Japan.  But since then, only one Chinese player per day has been defeated and each of those victors are vying for titles on Sunday in Basel.

Before team China could assert their dominance on semi-finals day, it was Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan who came out firing for her women’s singles semi-final against Akane Yamaguchi.  It was Busanan who had removed the first top seed from the tournament when she scored her first career victory over Wang Yihan in Friday’s quarter-final.

On Saturday as well, Busanan came in with a 0-2 record against Akane, with both of the Japanese player’s wins coming in junior tournaments, but Ongbamrungphan was not to be denied as she took the first game after saving 2 game points and used a late run of points to secure the second 21-17.

In the other semi-final it was the tall Sun Yu (pictured) of China who split the first two games with Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi before running away with the third 21-12 to finish a 75-minute match.  Sun will be the favourite to take the title as she holds a 4-0 head-to-head on Ongbamrungphan, never dropping a game.

Axelsen looks to repeat in on-seed men’s singles final

Kidambi Srikanth of India came out on top after a tough fight put up by his countryman Ajay Jayaram.  Srikanth will be looking to bounce back with a title after a first-round defeat to Kento Momota at the All England.

However, Viktor Axelsen (pictured) will be a tough nut to crack, as he has not dropped a game on course to potentially defending his gold medal from last year’s .  The first meeting between these two will surely be of high quality, as Srikanth and Axelsen are at career highs on the BWF rankings at 4th and 6th respectively.

Axelsen booked his spot in the final by beating Xue Song, the man who had denied him in the Dane’s last chance to take a second World Junior title.

Liu and Bao look for first, Lu and Bao to duel for two

Mixed doubles has set itself up to be an all-Chinese final between Liu Cheng / Bao Yixin (pictured top) and Lu Kai / Huang Yaqiong.  The head-to-head sits at 1-1, but the slight edge goes to Lu/Huang who were victorious in 3 games in their last meeting at the All England just 10 days ago.  They both have certainly earned their spots in the final with wins over the #1 seeds Ahmad/Natsir and #2 seeds Adcock/Adcock respectively.

Liu and Bao are looking for their first title together since they won the World Junior Championship in 2010.   Whichever pair wins, one partner will then be looking for a second title, as Bao Yixin and Lu Kai will each feature twice on finals day.

The un-seeded women’s doubles pairing of Japan’s Ayane Kurihara and Naru Shinoya (pictured) are definitely in form as they dispatched China’s Tang Jinhua / Zhong Qianxin in the second round, and now survived their match-up with compatriots and no. 1 seeds Kakiiwa/Maeda in a match that lasted over one hour.

Their resistance in the final comes from none other than the newly crowned All-England champions, China’s Tang Yuanting and her partner Bao Yixin.  For Bao, the thought of two titles this tournament would certainly be a happy one.

Men’s doubles has the potential to be explosive as China’s Cai Yun / Lu Kai had a convincing victory over Brazil Open winners Max Schwenger /Josche Zurwonne of Germany, a win that took them less than half an hour.  Their opponent in the finals will be Malaysia’s Commonwealth Games gold medallists Goh V. Shem / Tan Wee Kiong, who had late comebacks in both games of their semi-final against Fernaldi/Sukamuljo to snag the victory 21-19, 21-19.  In this, their first-time meeting, a promise of very fast-paced rallies would likely be a safe one.

Finals line-up
XD: Liu Cheng / Bao Yixin (CHN) [3] vs. Lu Kai / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) [5]
MS: Kidambi Srikanth (IND) [1] vs. Viktor Axelsen (DEN) [2]
WS: Sun Yu (CHN) [6] vs. Busanan Ongbamrungphan (THA) [8]
WD: Bao Yixin / Tang Yuanting (CHN) [5] vs. Ayane Kurihara / Naru Shinoya (JPN)
MD: Cai Yun / Lu Kai (CHN) [3] vs. Goh V. Shem / Tan Wee Kiong (MAS) [6]

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 @