HONG KONG OPEN 2015 QF – Ka Long nets Hong Kong a spot in the semis

Hong Kong people will have reasons to shout during the semis as Ng Ka Long keeps on shining on his home soil after a fantastic win over the 5th seed […]

Hong Kong people will have reasons to shout during the semis as Ng Ka Long keeps on shining on his home soil after a fantastic win over the 5th seed Chou Tien Chen on a day that also saw big wins for Lee Chong Wei and Korea’s Yoo Yeon Seong and Jang Ye Na.

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

The crowd at the 2015 certainly longed for this, and Ng Ka Long responded the positive way as he rushed towards the semis after a fantastic encounter against Taiwan’s prince Chou Tien Chen.  It was a third meeting in a only a month between these two players led to a great advantage to the Hong Kong youngster, who is stepping a bit more into the elite state of his game.

This year and last, Ng and Chou had faced each other only in the French and Bitburger Opens.  In 2014, Chou won both encounters and went on to post his two biggest results of that year.  This year, Ng again lost to his Chinese Taipei opponent at the French Open but his victory over Chou at the Bitburger propelled him toward his first major career title.

Despite needing an hour to achieve this great result in his home Superseries event, Ng Ka Long never seemed ready to give up, putting his opponent to the rear of the court, forcing him to run the diagonal and eventually steamed onto a 13-1 run late in the deciding game that would all but secure his ticket to his first career Superseries semi-final.

Right after this match, Lee Chong Wei entered the court, facing his nemesis Chen Long (pictured), who was ready to avenge his defeat on home soil last week in China.  But it definitely didn’t go the Chinese way, as Lee Chong Wei, showed incredible mental strength to come back in the second game after trailing 13-18.  Lee calmly displayed his out-of-this-world game and grabbed not only the second game, but also the rubber, and clinched a semis spot, becoming the arch favourite for the crown on Sunday.

After a few months of inconsistency, Yoo Yeon Seong and Jang Ye Na showed great confidence against Xu Chen and Ma Jin (pictured below).  The Korean pair had obviously learnt their lesson.  After their easy defeat in China last week, their fifth career loss to the world number five pair, they kept their hopes high and turned them into reality.

Throwing lethal attacks, Yoo and Jang made their job clear, preventing Xu Chen from attacking, and surviving a second-game loss to win it in three.  While their recently very successful compatriots Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na didn’t manage to get through the World Championship silver medallists Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin, the possibility remains for an all-Korea, an all-China, or another Korea-China affair in the final as Shin Baek Cheol and Chae Yoo Jung made it through and will take on Liu and Bao in one semi-final while Yoo and Jang will play World Champions Zhang and Zhao.

Although Lee Chong Wei and Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei were able to repeat their success from recent high-profile finals – with Lee beating his China Open opponent Chen Long and Tian/Zhao repeating their success from the World Championship final against Pedersen/Rytter Juhl – no such consistency held true in the women’s singles.

2014 Hong Kong Open runner-up Nozomi Okuhara was the first to change her fortunes, giving no chance to title-holder Tai Tzu Ying (pictured bottom).  Next, Nozomi must take on another opponent she had to beat on the occasion of her first Superseries title as Ratchanok Intanon advanced by beating Sayaka Sato.

Shortly thereafter, Wang Yihan avenged her loss in the Korea Open Superseries final when she annihilated Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun in straight games.  The top Korean player, who is currently getting treatment to cure her Achilles tendon injury, played a total of 8 rallies in the two events prior to the China Open.  She will not travel with most of the Korean team to Macau and the Americas and will thus have two weeks off before the Superseries Finals in Dubai, where she was runner-up last year.

People probably didn’t expect Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao (pictured) to beat their illustrious team-mates Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi.  Still the two players fought like no one during an hour and thirty-six minutes to defeat their world number one compatriots. Fukuman and Yonao have the last chance to be the final qualifiers for the Superseries Finals in Dubai.  They can catch their compatriots Kakiiwa/Maeda only by winning the Hong Kong Open title.

The Japanese pair is now asked to get through the Olympic Champions Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei for a spot in the final.  Zhao and Yoo Yeon Seong are the only players still going in two semi-finals and they will face each other in mixed doubles.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

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