HONG KONG OPEN 2012 QF – Schenk in fifth straight semis

Germany’s Juliane Schenk (pictured) will spend her weekend playing a badminton semi-final for the fifth time in six weeks, as she beat Porntip Buranaprasertsuk to set up a meeting with world #1 Wang Yihan at the 2012 Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open .

By Thibault Bluy, Badzine Correspondent live in Hong Kong.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Just as she has in every tournament since the Olympics, #5 seed of the women’s singles draw, Juliane Schenk, booked a spot in the semi-finals.  Schenk kept her ranking Friday against Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (pictured below), winning in two games, 21-16, 21-16.

“I felt quite confident,” the German player confirmed after the quarter-final.  “I tried just to focus each rally after rally.  I knew that she is a great skilful player, she has a lot of power.  I had to be focused and stand ready all the time.  I tried to control and keep on fighting.”

And what is up now for Juliane?  A semi-final against the world #1, you say?

“There is nothing more to come in on! That is perfect! I am just pleased and satisfied now, and I am enjoying this victory.  At this stage and level, you just go for the rally.  You just simply enjoy playing, and that is all about it.  I will just try to go on what carried me along all the previous tournaments.  With this in mind, it is great!”

There was to be no double happiness for Germany this week, however.  Marc Zwiebler started well in his quarter-final, where he was the favourite against Tommy Sugiarto (pictured below) of Indonesia.  He was leading 14-8 when he started making some mistakes while his adversary began playing better, passing him to take the first game 21-17.

“I do not know what happened,” the German player said after the match.  “Maybe I was a bit more tired.  I just did not have any feeling, any control on court.  I feel I was quite too far.  I should have won the first, but then I did not do it.”

Zwiebler recovered in the second game, trying to conserve his advance that time.  After some long rallies, he eventually won 21-18.  He successfully ended almost all of the attack/defence sessions, and the crowd believed that the last game would be for him.  But again, after trailing 8-11 at the interval, Tommy accelerated, passed him and won 21-17.

“I know what happened at the end,” added Mark Zwiebler.  “I did not see wide at all, and he played with good strategy.  The last two days were perfect for me, and today it was not perfect at all.”

Zwiebler prefers to remain positive, though: “I am more or less satisfied, of course,” he said.  “I would have liked to have won and played Chen Long tomorrow in the semi-final, and Tommy is a lower-ranked player than I am so of course I am disappointed, but I have to accept it.  Sometimes it is just not your day.”

For Mark Zwiebler it is now time to catch a flight back to Germany and have some rest, while a big challenge awaits for Tommy Sugiarto tomorrow, as he will challenge #2-seeded Chen Long of China in the semi-final.

From the very beginning of her match, Ma Jin (pictured below) wanted to make things clear tonight.  On the very first service, the shuttle grazed the net and dropped in without being touched by Singapore’s Vanessa Neo.  Ma and her partner Xu Chen seemed to control the match that pitted them opposite Neo and Danny Bawa Chrisnanta.  The China Open champions maintained a comfortable lead throughout the first game, which they concluded on the score of 21-17 after less than 15 minutes.

The second game was even more one-sided, ended at 21-13 in favour of the top seeds.

“They seemed to speed up at the end, so I could not even retrieve a few shots,” admitted a stunned Vanessa Neo after the match.

The spectators who stayed until the end should have appreciated the last match of the day.  The Korean pair Yoo Yeon Seong / Jang Ye Na, who just secured their berth in the finals earlier in the week, faced third-seeded Malaysians, Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying.

The underdogs were left a bit behind during almost the whole first game, and just turned that into a lead at 18-17.  After some crazy points with particularly great dives, Yoo and Jang finally won 25-23 in 30 minutes, putting the favourites under pressure.

It was pressure they got out from under rapidly, as they took the second game 21-16.  The last game was quite tense until the interval, the two pairs running neck-and-neck.  Thanks to a great consistency and some incredible defence by Goh Liu Ying, the Malaysians pulled away to win 21-15 and qualify for the last four, where they will play the formidable Xu Chen / Ma Jin, who have held fast to the world number 1 ranking since, ironically, winning silver at the London Olympics.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

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