The title race in Shanghai continues as shuttlers battle for the last Superseries Premier title of the year. Host China saw their top seeds falter and only manage to command some domination in the men’s singles event.
By Serla Rusli, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live)
Juliane Schenk created the sensation for the day by beating world no. 1 Wang Yihan (photo) in a thrilling 19-21, 21-16, 21-17 clash. This was the first time the German beat the Chinese since the 2009 BWF World Championships, after which the Chinese had prevailed in their last 5 encounters. Juliane will face Ratchanok Intanon, who also beat the odds today by stopping Danish top lady Tine Baun in a convincing 21-13, 21-19 win.
With Wang Yihan’s defeat, Li Xuerui became the sole flag bearer for China in China Open women’s singles. The Olympic champion will face Minatsu Mitani from Japan who booked her spot in the semi-finals by beating Li’s compatriot Deng Xuan in one of the longest and hardest fought matches of the day which ended 19-21, 22-20, 22-20.
Malaysia’s Chong Wei Feng (photo) became the only shuttler who was left clinging to the Chinese Great Wall in the men’s singles event. After a somewhat smooth victory over Takuma Ueda, he will definitely face a tricky round next as he is set to face top seed Chen Long. Chen has been on top form in the tournament and has cruised smoothly throughout without dropping a single game to any of his opponents.
The other half of the draw will see an all-Chinese affair between second seed Chen Jin and Wang Zhengming.
No Doubles Luck
Ousted at the start of the day were the recently crowned Olympic champions Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng (photo). Just a few weeks back, the pair had to retire from the first round of Denmark Open due to shoulder injury by Cai Yun. This time, they failed to advance further after suffering defeat from Korea’s new and extremely promising pair Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae, who came through in straight games 21-17, 21-16.
The French Open champions had gone far to book their spots in the semi-finals, having to slowly earn their way through from the qualifying rounds. They will face fourth seeded Japanese Hiroyuki Endo/ Kenichi Hayakawa who beat Ko/Lee’s compatriots Shin Baek Cheol / Yoo Yeon Seong 21-14, 21-16.
Later in the day, China had to completely forego their shot at the men’s doubles title after Chai Biao / Zhang Nan lost to top seeds Mathias Boe / Carsten Morgensen. The Danes will face Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong in what promises to be an exciting semi-final clash.
Another great Korean duo in the making seems to come from the mixed doubles event. Korea’s most established remaining pairing of Yoo Yeon Song / Jang Ye Na managed to scrape their way through to the semi-final after another hard-fought battle, a performance that should net them a spot in the Superseries Finals.
In the quarter-finals, they upset fourth-seeded Danish duo Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen. They will face their toughest challenge yet in the semi-finals against homeground favourites Xu Chen / Ma Jin, who kept the Koreans from the title on the only other occasion when they got this far in a Superseries tournament.
At the other leg of the draw, the tournament will boast an exciting match between tournament third seeds Tontowi Ahmad / Lilyana Natsir and fifth-seeded Malaysians Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying. Even though the Malaysians have never nicked a victory over the higher-ranked Indonesians, their encounters have always been extremely close affairs. In Swiss Open earlier this year, Ahmad/Natsir barely made it past Chan/Goh and managed to scrape through with 21-19, 18-21, 25-23 win.
Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang seemed to be paving their way smoothly to the top in their first comeback tournament after an unpleasant Olympic experience. They are the only Chinese women’s doubles pair still standing strong in the tournament. Their 13-21, 21-9, 21-16 win against Japanese duo Misaki Matsumoto / Ayaka Takahashi (photo) earned them a spot in the next round against formidable new Thai duo Narissapat Lam / Saralee Thungthongkam.
The other half of the draw will be a clash between Miyuki Maeda / Satoko Suetsuna and Hye Won Eom/Ye Na Jang.
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