ASIAN GAMES 2010 Indiv. Day 4 – Eriko finally gets a medal!

After years in the circuit and so many tournaments played, Eriko Hirose finally scooped an important medal – bronze at least – in the Asian Games individual event. She will […]

After years in the circuit and so many tournaments played, Eriko Hirose finally scooped an important medal – bronze at least – in the individual event. She will face Wang Xin while Wang Shixian takes on Yip Pui Yin, who stunned second seed Saina Nehwal.

By Raphael Sachetat, live from Guangzhou. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Finally, she’s got it: the medal in an individual competition she’s been dreaming of for so many years she’s been on the circuit. Bronze, at least. Maybe even a better metal if Eriko Hirose (photo) plays against Wang Xin in the semi-final like she played against Wong Mew Choo in her quarter-final match.

Steady, powerful, clever with a great variety of shots – including some lethal hidden drop shots – Hirose played some of her best badminton against Wong Mew Choo (photo) of Malaysia, who had ups and downs in the game but who struggled to keep the rhythm imposed by the Japanese. Leading 7-1 quickly, Hirose took the Malaysian by surprise and the energy Mew Choo spent on catching back was to be paid back later in the game. Wong, however, had a great run from 4-8 to 16-13 when things look like they were back in order for the Malaysian. This was without counting on Hirose’s determination. She kept using long high drives and fast drops to tire the Malaysian, who had more and more difficulties reaching for the shuttle. The Japanese took the edge and led 20-19 but Wong saved one game point. But Hirose had now put on the final gear and secured the game 22-20.

It was a crucial win as the Malaysian then seemed out of breath after the second part of the second game, while Hirose kept on hitting hard from the back and moving her opponent around. Wong reached 11 points, but that was to be as far as she could go, letting Hirose take the medal 22-20, 21-11.

I was just struggling to get her shots. Whatever I tried, she’d hit back at me. She seemed very well prepared while I could feel my legs,” said Wong. “I couldn’t keep pace in the second game, she kept breaking my rhythm,” added the Malaysian.

It’s an amazing victory for me. I feel ecstatic,” said Hirose. “We had long rallies in the first game and I stuck to my strategy to hold out and win by a small margin. We both used a lot of stamina in the first game but I got better in the second game which enabled me to win. I got a lot of confidence for tomorrow’s match even if I know that the Chinese players are very hard to beat. It will be difficult,” hinted the smily girl. She will play Wang Xin – a player she’s never beaten in the past, but she recently had a good outing against a top seed: she was the one beating Wang Yihan in Paris’s World Championships.

In the other half of the draw, another threat to Chinese supremacy: Yip Pui Yin was the last one to qualify : the Hong Kong girl once again played one of her Asian Games tricks – she had been the runner-up to Wang Chen in Doha. This time, she beat Saina Nehwal after a crazy match – two dull games won and lost easily on both parts before the real show began, and it was just Yip who wanted it more. She took the last game 21-19, on a serve from Nehwal that hit the net and fell few centimetres short of the service line. The friendly but vociferous Indian reporters who had invaded the news stands were suddenly all quiet while Yip was shouting for joy at having been able to win her ticket to the semi-finals.

All Chinese affair…

As expected – even if there were only two Chinese pairs in the women’s doubles draw – it will be an all-Chinese affair on Friday, where Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang will meet their compatriots Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing (photo) – last minute replacement for Cheng Shu. Both Chinese pairs had less trouble than expected against the two Korean pairs and the two semi-finals were played in no time – this event’s final is scheduled to be the first one to be played in these 16th Asian Games. Wang and Yu outplayed Ha and Lee with 21-17, 21-14 and the score line got even worse for Lee Hyo Jung and Kim Min Jung, who lost 9-21, 12-21. It was a clear disappointment for the girls who had put China to shame in the Uber Cup final.

Indonesians on top

After Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung had weakened China’s hopes to clinch the title in the men’s doubles by beating Cai and Fu, another pair played the same trick on China’s Guo and Xu – this time erasing all chances for China. Scratch pair of Alvent Yulianto and Mohammed Ahsan (photo) beat the second Chinese pair in one of the best matches of the evening, ending in a final score of 14-21, 21-19, 21-16 success for the Indonesians, reflecting the intensity of the match. Indonesia was then to scoop another medal when Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan beat Chen and Lin from Taipei in three games.

Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong on their end got one step closer to defending their title when they beat Japan’s Hirata and Hashimoto in another three games hard battle. They showed mental strength towards the end of the game when the Japanese were close to level up at 19-18 but the duo from BAM kept their momentum and took it home 21-19, 13-21, 21-18. They’ll have to play at least as well against Yulianto and Ahsan, a pair they’ve never met. Rexy Mainaky’s imput will definitely be of some help to prepare this match.

For detailed results, CLICK HERE

Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.