INDIA OPEN 2016 QF – Bodin back for another 1st?

Bodin Issara returned to the site of his first Superseries title and led new mixed partner into her first Superseries semi-final appearance at the India Open. By Don Hearn.  Photos: […]

Bodin Issara returned to the site of his first title and led new mixed partner into her first semi-final appearance at the .

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live from Delhi)

As the India Open progresses into the weekend, it begs the question of who it will be this year.  In 2015, the event added another two pairs to bring the list of first-time Superseries winners in India to 11.  This year again, the main candidates for first-time titles are again in men’s and mixed doubles and in particular the latter, where three of the four pairs in the semi-finals are still in the hunt for their first Superseries crown.

Four years ago, Bodin Issara showed up in India with then-partner Maneepong Jongjit and proceeded to win the men’s doubles title by beating Ko Sung Hyun in the final.  That occasion may come later this weekend, but for now, his new mixed doubles partner Savitree Amitrapai (pictured) is ready to make the most of the first Superseries semi-final of her career.

Issara and Amitrapai fought back from a game down to beat an even newer pair.  Liu Yuchen and Tang Jinhua had played only one previous tournament and then went a game up on the Thai pair before the Swiss Open runners-up snatched the second and third, each by 21-18, to book their spot in the semis.

Their opponents will be Riky Widianto and Puspita Richi Dili (pictured).  The Indonesians, too, are looking for their first Superseries title in Delhi but they have been in a final in the past.  To reach the semis this year, they created one of the biggest upsets on quarter-finals day when they won a marathon against Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen.

In both the first and third games, the Indonesians had a 20-18 lead, then squandered 3 opportunities, which in the decider, of course, were match points.  Unlike in the opener, however, the underdogs pulled it together from 21-all and finished the match.

In the other semi-final, Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong will take on Denmark and French Open champions Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na.  Each of the Chinese players has won a Superseries title in level doubles but are looking for a first in mixed and as a pair, while Kim Ha Na won her first Superseries title here back in 2012.

Similar to mixed, the men’s doubles features one semi-final between first time hopefuls.  Goh V. Shem has one Superseries title to his name but is still looking for his first with Tan Wee Kiong.  They dominated their third game against Danish giants Mads Conrad Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding and now take on Malaysia Masters winners Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.

Women’s singles featured just one upset on quarter-finals day and it came from Korea’s Bae Yeon Ju (pictured).  Bae would be overjoyed to take the first Superseries title of her career here in India and it was here that she most recently reached a final, but that was way back in 2011.

Bae fought back from a game down to defeat Pusarla Venkata Sindhu in three but if she wants to get past her first Superseries semi-final since last spring and make this her first final in five years, she will have to defeat 2013 champion Ratchanok Intanon, who came back from 10-15 down to win her deciding game against Tai Tzu Ying.

The other Korea-India showdown on Friday turned into the longest match of the day and at the end of the 83 minutes, Saina Nehwal emerged to be the sole shuttler flying the home flag in the semi-finals.  Saina beat Sung Ji Hyun (pictured bottom) for the sixth time in her career and is now looking for her first win against Li Xuerui since she ended the then budding Chinese star’s pre-Olympic winning streak in 2012.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

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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 @ badzine.net