CANADA OPEN 2016 SF – Home shuttlers vie for firsts and thirds

Canadian Michelle Li and the men’s doubles pair of Toby Ng and Adrian Liu both reigned supreme in the semis of the ongoing Canada Open Grand Prix. Story and photos […]

Canadian Michelle Li and the men’s doubles pair of Toby Ng and Adrian Liu both reigned supreme in the semis of the ongoing .

Story and photos by Yves Lacroix of Badmintonphoto (live in Calgary)

Michelle Li, up against Iris Wang of the USA, had statistics on her side.  Not only has the Canadian won the last two editions of the tournament, but their eight encounters on the international scene all went in favour of the Canadian.  Wang was not able to finally change the 0 to a 1 in their head-to-head tally and went down 14-21, 16-21 to the first seed.

Zhang Beiwen (pictured) had a tougher battle against Linda Zetchiri.  The first game had to go to a deciding 22-20, but despite Zetchiri’s acrobatics, the Bulgarian was not able to produce more than 16 points in the second.

In men’s singles, left-hander Lee Hyun Il (pictured) had a surprisingly very easy stroll over first-seed Ajay Jayaram.  The Indian never seemed to get into the match and that paved the way for a very comfortable 21-9, 21-8 victory for the Korean former world #1.

Brice Leverdez, who seems to have more than his share of three-game contests on Canadian soil – once again had to go all the way against Sai Praneeth but a series of fatal mistakes blew the Frenchman’s momentum away.  The Indian prevailed 22-20, 19-21, 21-12 in the longest match of the day.

In men’s doubles, unseeded Canadians Adrian Liu and Toby Ng (pictured below) never gave a chance to Sam Magee and younger brother Joshua and toppled the Irishmen 21-19, 21-11.

“Coming into today’s match, we didn’t really have too many expectations,” explained a delighted Toby Ng after the match.  “As a semi-new partnership, we simply tried to play our strongest games and communicate the differences as I play a more tactical game than my brother, Derrick, with my mixed doubles background.  Adrian and I played briefly together at the end of 2009 before he reunited the partnership with Derrick.”

The other pair representing Canada were not able to repeat the feat as Adam Dong and partner Andrei Adistia – the latter representing Indonesia – were not able to counter the solid attack from first seeds Manu Attri and B.  Sumeeth Reddy.

“Adam asked me to play with him so I went to his club [KC Badminton Club in Markham] for a few weeks to train for this tournament.  This is our first and last tournament together because I will be going back to Indonesia after this event”, shared a very relaxed Adistia after the match.

“Today, I played badly and it’s disappointing because I thought we could make it to the final.”

Dong, who hails from Jiangsu province in China, expressed his satisfaction: “I retired three years ago so coming back at this level and reaching the semis is pretty good.”

In women’s doubles, Olympic qualifiers Heather Olver and Lauren Smith had an easy run over Hung Yi-Ting and Su Hsiang Ling of Chinese Taipei.  They will be joined in the final by Australia’s Gronya Somerville and Setyana Mapasa (pictured), who had only slightly more trouble getting the better of the international pairing of Leanne Choo and Rachel Honderich.

Choo had been responsible for Honderich’s exit from the mixed doubles but the two had paired up this week for the women’s event and next week, they will begin a campaign at the U.S. Open Grand Prix Gold with a match against Pan Am Games gold medallists Eva Lee / Paula Obanana.

Mixed doubles saw first seeds Robin Middleton and Leanne Choo losing to Nico Ruponen and Amanda Hogstrom of Sweden.  They will face the very explosive pair of Do Tuan Duc and Pham Nhu Thao (pictured bottom) of Vietnam in the first match scheduled for Sunday’s finals.

Both women’s and mixed doubles are certain to become a career first Grand Prix title for the lucky winners.  Gronya Somerville, like Toby Ng and Adrian Liu, has won continental titles with Grand Prix-level ranking points but has yet to take the prestige and the prize money of a win on the actual Grand Prix circuit.

Finals line-up
XD:  Nico Ruponen / Amanda Hogstrom (SWE) [4] vs. Do Tuan Duc / Pham Nhu Thao (VIE)
MS:  Lee Hyun Il (KOR) [3] vs. B. Sai Praneeth (IND) [4]
WD:  Heather Olver / Lauren Smith (ENG) [2] vs. Setyana Mapasa / Gronya Somerville (AUS)
WS:  Michelle Li (CAN) [1] vs. Zhang Beiwen (USA) [2]
MD:  Manu Attri / B. Sumeeth Reddy (IND) [1] vs. Adrian Liu / Toby Ng (CAN)

Click here for complete semi-final results

Yves Lacroix

About Yves Lacroix

Based in Montréal, Yves has been an archivist for most of his career and started badminton photography early in the millennium. He has been part of the team since its infancy and his work both behind the camera and behind the photo website is key to the success of Badzine.