MALAYSIA OPEN 2010 SF – No title for Gade

Following in the footsteps of Nguyen Tien Minh, who overpowered Denmark’s rising star, Boonsak Ponsana (pictured) was every bit the opponent that Peter Gade had expected him to be, as […]

Following in the footsteps of Nguyen Tien Minh, who overpowered Denmark’s rising star, Boonsak Ponsana (pictured) was every bit the opponent that Peter Gade had expected him to be, as he rose from all complications and bid the 2007 champion goodbye in three sets that lasted 56 minutes.

By EeLyn Ooi, Badzine Correspondent, live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Yves Lacroix, BadmintonPhoto (live)

Boonsak, who will be turning 28 next month, walked his talk as he proved to the crowd that anything can happen although it is hard for him to beat Gade. Playing adjacent to the TV court, Boonsak put up a soul-thrilling match against the Dane, making it a pity that the game wasn’t broadcasted live.

“It was hard. I tried to defend but Gade did very well in the first game and I lost pace. Luckily I came back in the second and third games,” Boonsak said afterward. Although playing at the same time as the women double’s match where local pairs were in action, the Thai won good cheers as he performed his defensive play to the best, returning almost every killing smash from his opponent.

Despite the loss, Gade admitted that it was a very good tournament for him and said, “This is what can happen when you play against Boonsak. He has always been good at defending. I didn’t expect to play that well early in the year as I planned to peak for the All England.”

When asked about his match tomorrow against Lee Chong Wei, Boonsak remarked, “It is hard to play Chong Wei. I played him last week, he is strong and fast. But now he will have more pressure playing in his hometown. I hope to have a fair play tomorrow.”

Lee, being the first Malaysian on court today, never allowed Nguyen Tien Minh a chance to take revenge for his defeat in the second round of the same event last year. He trounced Nguyen, quicker this time, in straight games of 22-20, 21-11.

Early in the afternoon, 1st seeded Wang Yihan bowed out before the unbelievable Korean youngster Bae Youn Joo, smashing her hope of earning the title in Malaysia (see related article HERE).  Fortunately, her team-mate Wang Xin (pictured) came up against Eriko Hirose and took the Japanese in two sets, paying back for Wang Lin’s loss last night.

“Please don’t be the same as last year!” cried Wang Xin as she stepped backstage after her victory, already looking forward to grabbing the title. Wang was runner-up in the Grand Prix Gold last year where she lost to Wang Shixian after lasting three sets. “I was playing my team-mate back then, but now I’m not. It’s not a pressure, but a motivating force for me to do better so that I can defend China’s status in the women’s singles. I hope that Malaysia will become my lucky ground,” giggled Wang Xin through the press conference.

Meanwhile, Bae’s high school classmates, Jung / Yoo, who had been amazing throughout the week, couldn’t continue their good show as they left the door to the finals wide open for Du Jing / Yu Yang, losing to the Olympic champions 11-21, 13-21. The latter breathed a sigh of relief to see Ma Jin / Wang Xiaoli on the other bank of the finals draw, confirming a title for the Chinese. Ma / Wang threw the crowd a splash of cold water by sending local favourites Chin / Wong (pictured) off in 20-22, 21-12, 21-17.

Upon defeat, Wong said, “Actually, I am quite happy with today’s game. We’ve been losing badly in the previous meetings and now we’re able to pull a rubber game. They did well today and are only making mistakes because of the wind. We tried to fight back in the end but it was a bit too far. It’s not easy to kill them.”

Laybourn / Rytter Juhl now play an important role to keep Denmark’s national flag flying, sweeping the 8th seeded Thais off their feet to set up a final match up against Tao / Zhang, who had eliminated the World Champions in the quarter-finals last week. Tao / Zhang called it a day for themselves after defeating Chen / Chou of Chinese Taipei.

Finally on the ground of the men’s doubles, Guo Zhendong / Xu Chen (pictured) were up against 2008 runners-up Chandra / Gunawan to struggle for a spot in the finals. However, both pairs confessed that the wind was part of the key factor of the match. As Guo and Xu pointed out, that they couldn’t catch up in the first set as it was rather messy with the wind coming from the other direction.

Chandra said, “We did not follow the strategy used in the first set because there was the wind and it was difficult to control the shuttle. Also, the Chinese were too fast and we couldn’t find the chance to attack.”

Xu also commented about their comeback in the second set, saying, “We took the coach’s advice and it all went on smoothly.”

The last match of the day saw the loudest group of spectators cheering with every point earned by Koo / Tan. Chai Biao / Zhang Nan (pictured below) came back in the second set after losing the first one 19-21, giving themselves hope to let China dominate the men’s doubles finals, just like the ladies did in the their doubles. However, both came back just to pull a rubber set where it ended 21-15 in the Malaysians’ favour.

“It was not as good as yesterday’s match,” remarked Koo backstage. “I don’t feel good today. The game just wasn’t as high a standard as the one last night. Chai and Zhang have improved and had fewer mistakes. They seemed like they were not afraid of us at all. Anyway, I am happy to be in the finals again and am proud to be in one in my home ground. It’s our finals here so we have no hesitations. We’ll go all out.”

Reacting to his partner’s words, the relatively reserved Tan said, “I haven’t had enough of the matches yet, I don’t know why.” When asked about playing the Chinese tomorrow, he replied casually, “We’ll just play it. We lost last time.”

For complete semi-final results from the 2010 Proton Malaysia Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

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