Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Chris Adcock and Gabrielle White each got the better of current World Champions to advance to the French Open semis.
By Tarek Hafi, live in Paris. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)
The spectators in a packed stadium, enjoying their thank-god-it’s-Friday moment, were not disappointed as they were treated with majestic encounters, allowing the French crowd to expect great matches for tomorrow’s semi-finals.
Newlyweds Chris Adcock and Gabriel White proved love (and skills) could overcome any hurdle. The Brits left no chance to their World Champion opponents, Tontowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir. The British pair never seemed impressed by their popular opponents, moving around the court and asphyxiating the Indonesians with a very clever game.
The crowd bringing an extra help led to a logical win, indeed, as the level of game showed today reached its highest. Chris Adcock and Gabrielle White obtained their semis tickets in straight games 22-20, 21-17.
A few minutes later, in a fifth partnership, Lee Yong Dae was unable to get the better of Malaysia’s Hoon Thien How as the recent Denmark Open Superseries winners, Lee and Yoo Yeon Seong suffered a severe defeat to Hoon and Tan Wee Kiong in straight games.
Despite an easy win yesterday, the pair still looked in shape for another round, but today’s quarter-final proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back as they bowed to their Malaysian opponents. Hoon had previously beaten Lee and Jung Jung Young in the 2004 World Junior Championship final but as Lee’s career has skyrocketed, he has taken the Korean down a notch in five subsequent, major upsets.
Meanwhile, Korea’s challenge in men’s doubles ended completely when Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol were also shown the exit by Indonesia’s Markis Kido and Gideon Markus Fernaldi.
Greysia Polii: “Whoever it is, we want to win”
Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari took over an hour to triumph and get their ticket for the last four but they got the whole crowd to their cause by pulling out a fantastic performance against the current world number one Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang.
The Indonesian pair were the main actresses of a wonderful and thrilling show in the end of the match, having loads of energy left to release perfect attacks while beautifully blocking Wang Xiaoli’s lethal smashes. That, along with clever tactics, allowed the Indonesians to level at 19-all, after they had been trailing 15-19.
“The last time we played against them, we lost easily against them, so when we were close to beating them, we just kept thinking we need to win, and not let the stress get in,” confessed Greysia Polii after her match.
A first match point saved by Greysia and Nitya allowed the battle of nerves to take place instead. Wang Xiaoli, despite a shoulder injury that almost forced her to withdraw from the competition, doubled her attacking play in vain, as she faced a wall, eager to conclude the match positively.
“Whoever we are playing against, our only target is to win, when we came here, we kept focusing on every match we played and not to think about the draw, but the match instead,” added Polii.
“We’re trying our best to overcome the gap with the Chinese and even though we may not be there yet, we have the confidence to achieve it.”
Greysia and Nitya closed the encounter 21-17, 14-21, 23-21 after an hour and nine minutes, with the winning point coming on a cross-court smash from Nitya Krishinda Maheswari. The Indonesian pair is now set to meet a third Chinese pair in row as Bao Yixin and Tang Jinhua got the better of Reika Kakiiwa and Miyuki Maeda.
The current Olympic champions Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing were close to suffering a quarter-final exit of their own against the always-improving Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi. Zhao and Tian saved three match points to remain in the competition.
On the other hand, the world #2, Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl went down against Korea’s Jang Ye Na and Kim So Young, after an hour of play. The Koreans won 21-19, 25-23 to reach their 3rd Superseries semi-final in only 7 attempts.
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