Following Peter Gade’s silent goodbye from his final Malaysia Open last year, fellow Danish veteran Tine Baun ended her last trip to Kuala Lumpur as a competitor in the sport, losing in straight games to Tai Tzu Ying. On the bright side for Danish fans, Jan O Jorgensen got himself his first victory over Liew Daren, in the latter’s home Open, while Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen stepped into the semi-finals after defeating their comrades, Anders Kristiansen / Julie Houmann in the mixed doubles. On the other hand, Vita Marissa marched into the semi-finals in both the women’s and mixed doubles with her new partners.
By Ooi Ee Lyn, Badzine Correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)
Due to unforeseen technical difficulties in the stadium, the lights on court one and two went off for a few minutes, forcing two women’s singles matches to be put on hold for the moment. Tine Baun (photo) was leading in her first game against Tai Tzu Ying, but when the lights came back on, fate seemed to have twisted, as Tai began to catch up, finally ending the opening game 22-20 in her favour. The teenager from Chinese Taipei then wrapped the match by taking the second game 21-15.
Akin to Peter Gade, Malaysia is perhaps one of the best countries in the memory of Tine Baun. The 33-year-old Dane was women’s singles champion in the same venue for two consecutive years in 2008 and 2009. Having missed the chance to grab her third Malaysian title before retiring from the circuit, a teary-eyed Baun said, “From the beginning, I didn’t expect to win the first match, but now that I’m in the quarter-finals, I wanted to win.”
“It is always good to play in Malaysia, as I had one of my best wins here. I’ll definitely miss Malaysia. I might come back, for vacational purposes,” said Baun.
Having claimed the unexpected ticket to the semi-finals, Tai said, giggling, “I never thought of winning this in straight games. I thought I would either lose after a rubber game, or just get beaten flat in two.
“I’m happier that I don’t have to hurry home to play in our national tournament, though,” she continued. “A victory today is like a chance to escape that fate, because no matter whether I win or lose tomorrow, it would be too late to rush home for the tournament,” explained Tai about her narrow escape from the national ranking tournament in Chinese Taipei this Sunday.
After ending the run for Tine Baun, Tai Tzu Ying will face Saina Nehwal Saturday afternoon, where the two ladies will decide on a runner into the finals. Saina was granted her quarter-final win by forfeit after earning two points in the decider against Nozomi Okuhara. The Japanese called for a retreat, feeling ‘weird’ in her left knee.
“I somehow made an odd step and hurt my knee. I don’t know what happened either, but I just can’t put much pressure onto my left leg,” explained the young lady. “I felt the weird feeling in my knee towards the end of the second game, but I really wanted to win it, so I just carried on,” she continued, still smiling friendlily despite the loss.
On the bottom half of the women’s singles draw, Yao Xue gained entrance into the semi-finals by ousting fellow Chinese qualifier, Deng Xuan. Yao will put up against 2010 runner-up Bae Yeon Ju (photo), who got the better of seventh seed Minatsu Mitani in straight games.
Chong Wei to Daren: Just learn from the defeat
World number one and national hero Lee Chong Wei may have removed Hong Kong’s Hu Yun in easy games of 21-12, 21-9 to advance into the next round, but awaiting him there wasn’t his successor Liew Daren, as the younger Malaysian suffered his first loss to Jan O Jorgensen before the eyes of the home crowd.
To that, Lee Chong Wei commented, “I was originally confident that Daren would win, as he has a better head-to-head record, but I guess not everyone could withstand the pressure of playing on home ground. I told him that it doesn’t matter whether he wins or loses, because Jan is a good attacking player. I said to just learn from his experience this time.”
Sitting beside Jorgensen at the post-match press conference, Daren smiled, “Congrats to Jan,” he said. “I tried my best, but he was better. I got nervous when he caught up, and probably because I didn’t play yesterday, I was slower to get into the game,” continued the Malaysian.
“It was a really tough match. What a man’s battle!” Jorgensen exclaimed in reply. “I think you saw two guys mature on the court today. Anyway, I’m still 2-1 behind Daren. No, 3-1, in fact, as I lost to him once in the under-19 championships,” and the two warriors smiled at each other perhaps in reminiscence of the past.
Sharing the same fate as Dato’ Lee, Tago Kenichi made way into the semi-finals by beating Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, only to miss the chance to secure a finals spot for Japan, as Sho Sasaki lost to Sony Dwi Kuncoro after a 35-minute battle that ended 21-15, 21-12 in the hands of the Indonesian.
In the women’s doubles, Korean dark horses Ko A Ra / Yoo Hae Won finally left the battlefield, losing to second seeds Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi of Japan. The Japanese ladies will face off against fourth-seeded Singaporean pair Shinta Mulia Sari / Yao Lei, who triumphed over Reika Kakiiwa / Miyuki Maeda later in the day, while Bao Yixin / Tian Qing, who sent the top-seeded Danish pair packing, will meet Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella / Vita Marissa of Indonesia.
In the mixed doubles, Zhang Nan / Tang Jinhua bowed down to the also new pair of Praveen Jordan / Vita Marissa (photo), who are only one week senior to them in terms of partnership. Second seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen will guard them from the bottom half of the draw, while first seeds Chan and Goh of Malaysia will continue to block the entrance to the final as they face Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba in the semi-finals.
Lastly, after uprooting Kang Ji Wook / Lee Sang Joon to prevent Korea from securing a spot in the men’s doubles finals, Goh V Shem / Lim Khim Wah – who received a walkover from Koo/Tan last night – will continue to bear the responsibility of fighting for the crown at home. However, they will first have to get past hot pair Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae, and topple either one of Chai Biao / Liu Xiaolong and Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan in the finals.
The semi-finals will kick off at 2PM on Saturday afternoon on two separate courts – unlike last year when all ten matches were lined up on a single court, and had to progress into the night before the grounds could be refurnished to get ready for the final showdown.
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