SS FINALS 2017 SF – Tang/Tse go for a Hong Kong first

Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet won the longest semi-final on Saturday to get a shot at being the first Hong Kong pair to win a doubles title at […]

Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet won the longest semi-final on Saturday to get a shot at being the first Hong Kong pair to win a doubles title at the .

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet (pictured top) continue to break records.  A few months ago, they became the first Hong Kong pair to win a Premier title and on Saturday, they booked a spot to play for the Finals title.  They are the first doubles finalists from their region, which has not had a gold or silver medallist at the season finale since the very first edition, back in 2008, which saw an all-Hong Kong women’s singles final.

Tang and Tse did not have it easy.  They dropped the first game to Wang Yilyu / Huang Dongping.  After fighting to erase a 16-13 lead by the Chinese pair, the winners found it too difficult to penetrate the amazing defence by Wang and Hwang and they ended up one game down.

In the second game, the Hong Kong duo kept the upper hand throughout and weathered another late surge by the Chinese.  The same pattern continued into the decider, as Tse Ying Suet really took control of the front court and the two lefthanders together found a way to poke holes in the Chinese defence.

In the final, they will have to duplicate their Odense performance if they want the title because their opponents will again be Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen (pictured above).  The world #1 and defending champions were one of five pairs – 2 in mixed and 3 in women’s doubles – who will not continue playing together in the new year but they are the only ones who are still in running for a title in Dubai.  They came from behind in the second game with a brilliant 7-1 run to finish off their semi-final against World Champions Natsir/Ahmad in straight games.

Son again the reversal victim

Korea’s Son Wan Ho lost the semi-final last year two days after having beaten Viktor Axelsen in the group stage.  This year, his reversal followed on even sooner as he was unable to follow up his Friday victory over Lee Chong Wei (pictured left) with another in the semi-final stage the very next day.

The four-time champion Malaysian won in straight games this time.  Once again, he built up a commanding lead in the second game but this time, he refused to let go of it and closed it out comfortably 21-11.

Aside from Zheng/Chen, the only defending champion with a chance to repeat is Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen (pictured right).  He dominated China’s Shi Yuqi and will now challenge Lee Chong Wei for the title and also for the #1 spot in the world , as Lee will win back that distinction if he is able to prevail over Axelsen in the final.

Three new champions due

The other three finals all promise brand new champions.  In both men’s and women’s doubles, past winners from Denmark found their way blocked in the semi-final stage while the only returning women’s singles winner who competed this week – two-time defending champion Tai Tzu Ying – had failed to progress past the group stage.

Men’s doubles features a showdown between the reigning World Champions and the current world #1.  Like the mixed doubles, it is also a repeat of the Denmark Open final.

2016 runners-up Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda had eliminated Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo from the tournament last year and they threatened to do that again.  After taking the second game, they erased a 4-point lead late in the deciding game before the Indonesians finished it on a 5-point run to book a spot in their 9th Superseries final of the year.

Zhang Nan may have three mixed doubles titles at the Superseries Finals but he got a chance at his first men’s title when he and Liu Cheng (pictured) beat out 3-time winners Boe/Mogensen in straight games.

The first past champions to go down on Saturday were 2013 winners Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark.  They lost to yet another Denmark Open finalist, Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto (pictured bottom).

The women’s doubles title is securely in Japanese hands as their compatriots Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota beat Huang Yaqiong / Yu Xiaohan in what would seem to be the Chinese pair’s last outing together, as Yu picks up a different partner for January and Huang looks set to concentrated on mixed doubles.  Fukushima and Hirota were named the Most Improved Players at the Gala Dinner on Monday but although they were runners-up at the World Championships, both they and their opponents are looking for a first title since winning their career-first Superseries titles in April of this year.

Women’s singles started on Saturday as the only discipline certain to produce a brand new champion.  China’s Chen Yufei was unable to reach her first Superseries final in a year of very impressive semi-final appearances.  She went down in straight games to World Championship runner-up Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (pictured right).

Sindhu will face Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, who fought back from 14-18 down in her decider to beat Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.  This will mark the first time that Yamaguchi and Sindhu have played each other in an international final.

Finals line-up
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) vs. Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet (HKG)
WS:  Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (IND) vs. Akane Yamaguchi (JPN)
MD:  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) vs. Liu Cheng / Zhang Nan (CHN)
WD:  Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota (JPN) vs. Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto (JPN)
MS:  Viktor Axelsen (DEN) vs. Lee Chong Wei (MAS)

Click here for complete semi-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