FRENCH OPEN 2016 SF – Revenge for Ko and Kim

Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na got into their second final in a row at the Parisian Pierre de Coubertin stadium, after a majestic match against Denmark’s Joachim […]

Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na got into their second final in a row at the Parisian Pierre de Coubertin stadium, after a majestic match against Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen.  Zhang Beiwen continues on her fairy tale road, as she qualified for her first ever final.

By Tarek Hafi, Badzine Correspondent live in Paris.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Titleholders’ pride

Korea’s Kim Ha Na and Ko Sung Hyun (pictured) declared once more their affection for Paris after a majestic performance over the recent Denmark Superseries winners Joachim Fisher Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen.  Despite the psychological advantage still going strong on the Danish side, the world number one pair didn’t let the burden overwhelm them.

Last week in Denmark we made way too many mistakes against this pair but this time we were able to dictate the game and make fewer mistakes,” analysed Kim Ha Na after her match.

After a straight-game win 21-18, 21-19, the top Korean pair will now again confront the talented youngsters Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen for the trophy in Paris.  Of the last four Superseries events, this will be the third time that it is these two pairs facing off in the mixed doubles final.

From quarter-final onwards we get a bit more nervous but we still try our best to deal with that pressure and pull out our best game.  Now we’ll be heading to the final to give out best and hopefully win again here,” concluded Ko Sung Hyun.

The American dream

Zhang Beiwen offered herself a wonderful present today, with a well-deserved qualification to her first ever Superseries final after she dominated the tall Chinese player Sun Yu (pictured below).  The American player used flawless tactics to give Sun Yu a hard time and eventually grab her ticket to the final in Paris.

I really don’t know what happened today!” said Zhang Beiwen (pictured above) after her win.  “After I won the first set I was extremely excited though I could not show it.

Then I could see that she was not feeling that well.  I simply tried to push her around the four corners to make her run, because if I keep on attacking, I’ll be the one who will be losing stamina, and I can’t compete with the Chinese on that, so if they are rushing and want to attack, I won’t be running that much,” analysed a delighted Beiwen after probably her best achievement so far.

It is an experience to remember for the 26-year-old.  Born in China, she first made a name for herself representing Singapore in international junior events but she has been struggling to find a place to train and sponsor to cover all the expenses needed as a professional athlete.

I think the chance is given to those who are ready, and for me I am always ready because I must be ready, and I guess this time my chance has come,” added Zhang.  Now she is all set and ready to take on He Bingjiao, who has disposed of Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun in straight games as well.

Olympic Champs out

Sung was neither the only nor the highest ranked veteran to fall to China’s new generation.  World #1 Misaki Matsumoto and Ayaki Takahashi had to bow to the constantly rising pair of Jia Yifan and Chen Qingchen (pictured) in what was the best match of the day.

It took an hour and thirty-nine minutes for the 19-year-olds from China to defeat the current Olympic Champions and gain their ticket to the final.  Both pairs displayed high quality game, getting all the attention from the crowd.  The chief spectacle came with Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan saving four match points to earn the second game 29-27.

The Japanese have a better physical condition and skills than us, so we just thought at that time, we should not give up, we can win this match.  This is how we managed to do it I guess,” said Jia Yifan, looking obviously exhausted for the marathon she had to run.

The rising stars will now have to go through Korea’s Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee (pictured bottom), who defeated the other Chinese pair Li Yinhui and Huang Dongping.  Of the four finalists, only Chen Qingchen goes into Sunday’s final with a Superseries title to her name.

Finals line-up
  Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee (KOR) [6] vs. Chen Qingchen / Jia Yifan (CHN)
WS:  He Bingjiao (CHN) vs. Zhang Beiwen (USA)
MD:  Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN) [2] vs. Bodin Isara / Nipitphon Puangpuapech (THA)
XD:  Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [1] vs. Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [7]
MS:  Lee Hyun Il (KOR) vs. Shi Yuqi (CHN)

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Tarek Hafi