CHINA OPEN 2011 QF – China proves upset-resistant

The Chinese were unbeatable on quarter-finals day at the 2011 Li Ning Premier Super Series.  Three home players warded off upsets in women’s singles and two in mixed doubles, including top seeds Zhang/Zhao, who scraped through past Taiwan’s Chen/Cheng.

Kevin Kung, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live from Shanghai)

Chinese dominance is particularly in evidence in the women’s singles semi-final line-up.  However, both Li Xuerui and Liu Xin had to work very hard, to beat Ratchanok Intanon and Bae Youn Joo in their respective quarter-finals.

The two younger players will go up against the other two Chinese ladies, Wang Yihan and Wang Xin, in the semis.  Wang Yihan (pictured) also had her hands full with Bulgaria’s Petya Nedelcheva, but came out on top after three games.

It was a similar case for women’s doubles.  Only one of the three Japanese pairs in the quarter-finals were spared a bout with a home pair.  Third-seeded Mizuki Fujii / Reika Kakiiwa disposed of Jwala Gutta / Ashwini Ponnappa (pictured below), and thus dashed the Indians’ hopes of making the Super Series Finals in December.  Fujii/Kakiiwa will face top seeds Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang. Tang Jinhua / Xia Huan will challenge the second seed Zhao Yunlei / Tian Qing.

The battle of two Chens was less exciting than might be hoped from two so highly ranked. Chen Long ousted Chen Jin 21-13, 21-17 in less than half an hour.  The higher ranked Chen Long, who actually came to Shanghai having accumulated fewer points toward Olympic qualification than his opponent, will play against Simon Santoso in the semi-finals. The Indonesian beat Peter Gade in the three games 15-21, 21-15 21-16.

Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei set up another encounter in the semi-final of this Premier Super Series.  Neither showed any problem with fitness in their straight-game quarter-final wins, over Jan O Jorgensen and Sho Sasaki respectively.

Two Korean pairs booked their tickets to the semi-finals in men’s doubles.  Second seeds Jung Jae Sung / Lee Yong Dae will face Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (pictured) from Denmark.  The Danish pair played three long games against the Olympic Gold medallists Markis Kido / Hendra Setiawan before eking out the narrowest of victories 22-20, 21-23, 28-26.

Ko Sung Hyun / Yoo Yeon Seong won their sixth straight match against Malaysia’s Koo and Tan.  It is an incredible streak against such a strong opponent but this was only the second time in the six meetings that the Koreans did not come into the match as underdogs.  The Koreans will not be meeting top seeds Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng, however, as the home pair gave a walkover to Naoki Kawamae / Shoji Sato.

Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei weathered the storm and won 21-13, 17-21, 21-17 against Chinese Taipei’s Chen Hung Ling / Cheng Wen Hsing (all pictured top).  The Taiwan pair has had some good matches with the world #1’s and even took their first win on their way to the Japan Open title this year but couldn’t find the edge on Friday in Shanghai.

Tao Jiaming / Xia Huan went through qualifying this year but Tao is defending mixed doubles champion here in Shanghai.  They nudged out Denmark’s Laybourn/Rytter Juhl 21-16 22-20.  Now Xia and Zhao will fight twice on Saturday for tickets to two finals.

It is likely that Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (pictured) may have a chance to revenge the World Champion Zhang / Zhao in the final. But the Danish pair will need to pass the Thai pair Songphon Anugritayawon / Kunchala Voravichitchaikul in the semi-final.  The Thais took out giant-killers Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying in two close games.

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