SINGAPORE OPEN 2015 SF – Long battles for singles underdogs

3 out of the 4 singles semi-final matches at the 2015 OUE Singapore Open Superseries were decided in the rubber game.  China’s Sun Yu, in particular, had to dig deep […]

3 out of the 4 singles semi-final matches at the 2015 OUE were decided in the rubber game.  China’s Sun Yu, in particular, had to dig deep into her reserves to weather the storm from Wang Shixian.

By Adrian Kok, Badzine Correspondent live in Singapore.  Photos: Raphael Sachetat and Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Nailing her first ever Superseries, twenty-one year-old Sun Yu (pictured) was victorious over her senior team-mate Wang Shixian in a three-game match.  This is also Sun’s first win against Shixian.

“Yes it was a challenge playing against my more experienced team-mate; however, I am very happy getting myself into the finals,” said Sun.

Having won the first game, Sun Yu was not able to continue her edge in the second game.  Shixian had the skills and the experience to triumph in the second game.  In the decider, it was a battle of fitness and skills in which both players were evenly matched.

“Whoever I face tomorrow, I will give it my all,” said Sun Yu.

Rookies 2, veterans nil

Sun Yu was not the only one to book a first-ever appearance in a Superseries final.  In fact, two of the eight singles semi-finalists were looking for a first final and both got what they wanted.

In the case of men’s singles semi-finalist Kento Momota (pictured), however, it was more of a cakewalk over defending champion Simon Santoso of Indonesia.  Kento was actually the only one of the men’s singles final four who is currently ranked in the world’s top ten, a milestone he just passed two days ago.

“I felt I could win comfortably because Simon was having a bit of a problem and did not play really well. I really want to play against Simon again when he is at his best condition,” said Momota, who won 21-10, 21-13 against the Indonesian.

Simon, too, admitted that it wasn’t his best performance: “I made a lot of unforced errors in the first game, and in the second game I tried to fight back. However, at one point during the game, I felt something in my knee when I was trying to return a shot from the right back corner of the court. I was worried for a while during the game, and by the time I concluded that there was nothing wrong with my knee, it was already too late. I already trailed too far behind.”

Despite fighting till the last moment of the match, Simon eventually had to surrender his Singapore Open crown to a new winner – either his opponent Momota, or Hu Yun of Hong Kong China.

Hu hopes for third time charm

Hu Yun (pictured) springboarded into his second Superseries final in the past year, with the victory over Kashyap Parupalli.  Kashyap had a good lead at the start of the first game but was forced to put in extra effort after the interval when Hu became more relentless in his attack.

“It took me a while to pick up my pace given that I had two long matches over the past two days,” said Hu during the post-match interview.

Though he lost the first game, Hu didn’t give up hope to fight his way into the finals.  In the second game, he created a big lead which mounted a lot of pressure on his Indian opponent.  Kashyap wasn’t able to turn the tide and lost the second game, sending it to a rubber game.

“The conditions were very tough.  I mentioned yesterday that the draft in the hall was so great that when someone loses momentum it’s very tough to get back.  I was just trying hard to play my best.  Hu was doing well from both sides of the court, being very relaxed, and I was making a few errors,” said Kashyap.

Asked how he felt getting a place in the finals, Hu Yun said, “I am overall happy with my performance this week.  I never thought I would beat Chen