CHINESE TAIPEI OPEN 2010 QF – Taiwan looks strong; Korea, Indonesia threaten

2009 saw Chinese Taipei take first ever golds in two new events but going into the semi-finals of the 2010 Yonex Chinese Taipei Open Grand Prix Gold, the home team, […]

2009 saw Chinese Taipei take first ever golds in two new events but going into the semi-finals of the 2010 Yonex Gold, the home team, once again led by two Chengs, is poised for a shot at four titles, while Korea and Indonesia lead the foreign charge.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: BadmintonPhoto (archives)

2009 women’s singles champion Cheng Shao Chieh (pictured) gets set to defend her title at her home event and is up against some familiar faces.  The Korean family name Bae is not quite the dynasty that Wang has become thanks to the Chinese team but it still makes up half of the women’s singles semi-final line-up this year in Taipei and in fact, the two Baes began effectively as top seeds after the withdrawal of Yao Jie and Yip Pui Yin on the eve of the tournament.

After taking care of compatriot and Singapore Open runner-up Tai Tzu Ying in two easy games on Friday, Cheng will face Bae Youn Joo for a second week in a row, after ousting the 19-year-old in the first round last week in Macau.  This puts Cheng on a collision course with her opponent from last year’s final, Bae Seung Hee, who will take on Aprilia Yuswandari after the Indonesian edged young Ratchanok Intanon 25-23, 9-21, 21-17.

Cheng Wen Hsing, the only Taiwan player ever to play in two finals, is poised to repeat that feat but she has a couple of grudge matches to get through first.  In mixed doubles, she is partnering Chen Hung Ling, who was part of the first ever successful home pair in men’s doubles last year and who will attempt to be Cheng’s third partner, after Fang Chieh Min and Tony Gunawan, in a mixed final in Taipei.

Together, Chen and Cheng bested Thailand’s Anugritayawon/Voravichitchaikul in two games but they must now face Ahmad/Natsir of Indonesia, who beat the Taiwan pair last week en route to their Macau Open title.  Ahmad/Natsir took three games to get past Olympic champions Lee Yong Dae / Lee Hyo Jung 13-21, 21-11, 21-10.  The other semi-final is an all Indonesian affair between Teng/Bernadet (pictured) and Gunawan/Marissa.

Both Lees are still alive in their respective doubles where local pairs will be part of the effort to prevent all-Korean finals.  Cheng Wen Hsing and Chien Yu Chin (pictured), four-time champions at home, will have a rematch, from the Indonesia Open final, against Lee and Kim Min Jung, after the latter completed a summer hat-trick of wins over equally new Indonesian pair Polii/Jauhari.  Scratch pair Lee Kyung Won and Yoo Hyun Young have already done one better than their quarter-final finish last week and will face Japan’s Eto/Wakita, the surprise winners over top seeds Chin/Wong of Malaysia.  Yoo and her regular partner Jung Kyung Eun, triumphed over the Japanese pair in the final of the Hanoi International this spring.

In men’s doubles, Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung (pictured below) continued to put both Lee’s injury-induced hiatus and the pair’s first-round embarrassment in Macau behind them by ousting the defending champions Chen/Lin and earning a shot at top seeds Koo/Tan.  The Koreans have a 4-match winning streak over the world #1 Malaysians but this will be their first showdown this year.

But Chinese Taipei’s hot favourite this year is Fang Chieh Min / Lee Sheng Mu.  Surprisingly, this pair is still in the hunt for their first ever finals appearance at home but they’ve already made it clear that this is their year, with two Super Series titles in June and two more Grand Prix wins in North America last month.  Still, veteran Malaysian pair Choong Tan Fook / Lee Wan Wah had the locals on the ropes on Friday with a one game lead, followed by four match points in the second and finally with a 19-16 lead in the third, all of which dissipated to give Fang/Lee the 19-21, 26-24, 21-19 win.

Fang/Lee thus set up their own third showdown with Korea’s Cho Gun Woo / Kwon Yi Goo, with whom they will attempt to break the 1-all showdown to enter their first ever final at home.  The Koreans, too, fended off 3 match point opportunities by Hong Kong’s Wiratama/Wong before finally prevailing 14-21, 25-23, 21-15.

Shon sinks Sony

Men’s singles has been fraught with upsets but none more surprising than Korea’s Shon Wan Ho beating 2007 champion Sony Dwi Kuncoro.  The Korean, who finally cracked the world’s top 25 this week, made it to the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time ever by winning the longest of the quarter-final matches 21-16, 19-21, 21-19 over the second-seeded Indonesian.  This just a day after outlasting 2003 champion Wong Choong Hann in another 3-game match on Thursday.  Shon now faces Indonesia’s Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka, who himself has been struggling with relatively unknown opponents.

In the other semi-final, we have the remaining two of five former champions who started in Taipei this week.  Current titleholder Nguyen Tien Minh (pictured) of Vietnam beat 7th-seeded Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia and will now take on previous champion Simon Santoso of Indonesia.  Nguyen picked up his first title of the year in Australia last month while Santoso is looking to enter his first final of 2010 here in Taipei.

For complete quarter-final results from the 2010 Yonex Chinese Taipei Open Grand Prix Gold, CLICK HERE

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @