ASIAN GAMES 2010 Team SF – China’s Wangs too strong

China’s women and Korea’s men were the first to book their tickets for the final of the team final of the Asian Games’ badminton event in Guangzhou. China avenged their […]

China’s women and Korea’s men were the first to book their tickets for the final of the team final of the ’ badminton event in Guangzhou. China avenged their Uber Cup defeat to Korea while Park Sung Hwan led his team-mates to a 3-1 win over Thailand.

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

Oddly enough, and unlike it had been said in the local media for weeks, the first semi-final of the competition saw the Tian He Hall not even half-filled.

“We couldn’t buy tickets online anymore so I guess that’s why people thought it was sold out,” said one of the volunteers.  “But if you go outside the gates, you’ll see a lot of tickets for sale on the black market. And instead of paying 30 yuan, it costs 10 times as much.”

Nevertheless, the crowd was loud enough to cheer their compatriots to win in their tie against Korea.   It was a long-awaited meeting after the Uber Cup disillusion.

“Somehow, the Uber Cup defeat came as a lesson for us and this time, we were better prepared,” hinted Li Yongbo, who was wearing a black outfit as a sign of mourning to Korea’s chances to create another upset as in Kuala Lumpur.

In spite of a rather inexperienced team at that level – it was Wang Shixian’s first selection in a team event – the Chinese girls were this time able to cope with the pressure on home ground.  World number one Wang Xin first took the lead for China, beating Bae Youn Joo in straight games, 21-17, 21-13.  Wang was clearly on top of her game in an all-lefthander affair. More precise at the net, she was able to attack earlier in the rally.

Next was the second Wang of the party – Xiaoli, this time partnering Yu Yang instead of Ma Jin, who had to stay home because of a stomach problem.   This new pair was formed just before the China Open, where they managed to win gold. Both had lost crucial matches in the Uber Cup final with different partners but this combination proved right against Lee Kyung Won and Ha Jung Eun; it was, however, a close call.

After a rather easy first game won 21-12, the duo was up 20-19 when a dubious line call gave them the final win.  Wang’s rush at the net seemed to have gone out but was called in and after a few seconds the match was handed over to the Chinese, while Lee Kyung Won was still standing, in disbelief, where the shuttle had landed. The replays on the giant screen only showed the Chinese’s celebration but the shuttle itself wasn’t to be shown. It was then 2-0 for China – one left to go. With one Wang left to be fielded.

Wang Shixian (pictured), only 20 years of age, then took centre stage against Bae Seung Hee, who had beaten Wang Yihan in the Uber Cup final.  It was a huge task for the young Chinese to bring the winning point against such a player yet she proved that she had the shoulders to carry the pressure and in spite of a slower rhythm in the second game, was in control of the rallies for the 72 minutes the match went on for. She won 21-18, 18-21,21-14 on her third match point.

“I was trying my best but I got a bit tired in the second game and wasn’t able to recover in the third.  But I tried hard and I don’t have any regrets,” said the Korean, while the Chinese was all joy.

“I was a little nervous because this is the semi-final of the Asian Games and things didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped,” analyzed Wang.  “I was in a passive state in the second game and it was difficult for me, but I was more patient in the third game.”

China now heads towards the final, where they will meet either Thailand or Indonesia, who meet up in the evening session. For Li Yongbo, the victory was satisfying but he will prepare his team for a tougher match on Monday.

“I believe that the Chinese women’s team’s biggest enemy is themselves. They are all very young and lack experience in the huge games like this. I had expected them to win 3-0 and I am glad they did. I’m happy for Wang Shixian even if I feel she should have won in straight games. But it’s a good experience for her towards London’s Olympics,” hinted the head coach. “Now whoever we face will be a tough opponent for the finals. We will take it seriously and analyse our opponents’ tactics,” he added.

Korean men end Thailand’s fairy tale

In spite of their usual fighting and joyful spirit – helped with two spectators dressed up in traditional costumes with drums and other devices – Thailand wasn’t to create another upset after beating Malaysia last night. The Koreans were too disciplined and solid, starting with Park Sung Hwan, who had in mind to make amends for his defeat to Tago the previous evening. The Korean beat Boonsak Ponsana in straight games, easily, 21-9, 21-13.

It was not much more trouble for Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung (pictured), who edged Prapakamol and Anugritayawon 21-13, 21-14. A glimpse of hope came with Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, who beat Hong Ji Hoon, but Ko Sung Hyun and Yoo Yeon Seong took it home in a longer fight than expected – the first game was a great performance by Isara and Jongjit, who lost only 21-23 – but the Koreans got their act together in the second, winning 21-13. Korea will meet the winner of China vs. Indonesia to be played later.

All results 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.