AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2016 SF – 1st Superseries final for junior champs!

Chen Qingchen and Zheng Siwei booked their spots in Superseries final for the first time in their careers as they ousted All England champions Jordan/Susanto from the Australian Open. By […]

Chen Qingchen and Zheng Siwei booked their spots in final for the first time in their careers as they ousted All England champions Jordan/Susanto from the .

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Sydney.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Unlike earlier in the week, both mixed doubles matches began with every side quite obviously careful and paying respect to each other’s best qualities and pedigree.

Chen’s Innovation

The TV court presented the seventh and eighth seeded pairs, Goh/Chan and Huang/Lu, doing battle but the more interesting match between All England champions Debby Susanto / Praveen Jordan (pictured right) and Chen Qingchen / Zheng Siwei (pictured top) was happening on the adjacent court.

Praveen was keenly aware of needing to be decisive and authoritative without inciting a riot on the other side because these firecracker opponents are best when living at the extremes of physical performance.

By 6-9 in the opening game, Chen figured out the trend in Praveen’s shot selection and began intercepting the cross-courts to test if she was right, and she was.  Zheng followed suit to erase the lead of the sixth-seeded Indonesians and level it at 10-10.  Having signalled to the Indonesians they knew their plan A, the Chinese unleashed their usual frenetic style.

Jordan continued refusing to play ball the way these Chinese wanted, nor would he show them his signature cross dropshots, preferring to continue proffering no match rhythm.  His unheralded straight drops were deceptive, sharp, and most of all keeping opponents honest until his side won the opener 21-19.

But he couldn’t keep up this level of conscious strategising on every point after the change of ends to prevent the athletic Chinese pair from taking the next two games 21-11, 21-16.  Chen Qingchen’s innovation in the field of mixed doubles has the woman in front also jump smashing.  Her willingness to take two steps back and leap, rather than make the male take a step forward, is a game changer.  Chen has eliminated the time an opposing man usually has to dive to retrieve a high reaching touch drop.

Post-match, Zheng explained how much they’d prepared for today: “Even though we haven’t played them before, we asked our team-mates who had and watched footage.  We were well aware it wouldn’t be an easy match at all.

“We changed our strategy after the first game because Praveen Jordan hits very hard from the back so we made all the play happen as much in the front court to limit his effectiveness.”

The middle road to the final

The Malaysians Goh Liu Ying / Chan Peng Soon (pictured) appeared to slip in and out of self-consciousness, never completely warming to at least the sum of their parts, in particular Goh.  They did open their second game with increased urgency and focus but were missing an overall plan to guide them into a stable confident zone.

Once up a game, the Chinese eighth seeds constructed standard mixed doubles attacks and the put away shot scenarios ended with short lived resistance from their seventh seeded opponents due to their combined abnormal height advantage.

Lu’s smash offered more bite than Goh could handle once he caught sight of the finish line on the horizon.  Several of the demoralising second game’s points that made the Malaysians look ordinary were down-the-middle smashes by Lu followed up by Huang.

“We figured out our opponents today pretty quickly.  It was clear quite soon after the start what we were dealing with,” assessed Huang Yaqiong (pictured right, with Lu Kai).

Lu revealed their coach Zhang Jun’s advice was: “Our opponents’ resistance isn’t looking solid so we ought to stretch them apart on the court to gain our points.  He also suggested we speed up the match.”

Finals line-up
WD:  Nitya Krishinda Maheswari / Greysia Polii (INA) [2] vs. Bao Yixin / Chen Qingchen (CHN)
MD:  Angga Pratama / Ricky Karanda Suwardi (INA) [6] vs. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) [7]
MS:  Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (DEN) vs. Jeon Hyeok Jin (KOR)
XD:  Lu Kai / Huang Yaqiong (CHN) [8] vs. Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN)
WS:  Saina Nehwal (IND) [7] vs. Sun Yu (CHN)

Click here for complete semi-final results

Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @