FRENCH OPEN 2010 QF – The Thais show how it’s done!

Yet another night of exciting, nail-biting badminton in the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium on Day 4 of the French Open Super Series.  The Thai contingent was the biggest winner last […]

Yet another night of exciting, nail-biting badminton in the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium on Day 4 of the Super Series.  The Thai contingent was the biggest winner last night, scoring six wins out of six matches contested.

By Gregory Chan, Badzine Correspondent live in Paris.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live)

Women’s singles

It was a good night for the Ponsana siblings. Boonsak Ponsana (pictured below) was first out on court and had no troubles beating Ajay Jayaram from India 21-15, 21-14. On the exact same court after that sister Salakjit Ponsana (pictured left) was up against China’s Liu Xin, who in the previous round disposed of Juliane Schenk. The start of this match was overshadowed by proceedings on the adjacent court, where Peter Gade was playing and it was the Chinese 21-year-old who took the first game very comfortably.  In the next two games the Thai girl showed her amazing retrieving capabilities and her fighting display eventually won her the match and the hearts of the French crowd.

Earlier in the evening top seed Wang Yihan had little trouble disposing of sixth seed Ella Diehl 21-8, 21-8. Next up for Yihan: Porntip Buranaprasertsuk, the winner against England’s Elisabeth Cann. No such luck for second seed Tine Baun though, as she lost her match against Chinese youngster Li Xuerui in two straight games.

Men’s singles

One day after upsetting fourth seed Jan O Jorgensen in Round 2, Du Pengyu was expecting to scalp a third consecutive Dane in Joachim Persson.  On paper another upset looked possible, but it was the Dane who settled into the match faster, leading all the way in the first game by a comfortable margin and taking it 21-17.  Du certainly looked more comfortable in the second game, running down every shuttle, forcing the Dane into errors and eventually the match was tied.

All looked well once again in the third game for Joachim and he was 3 points away from the match at 18-12, but after missing an easy kill at the net, errors started coming off the Dane’s racket once again.  Du then scored 7 points in a row and just when it looked as if he might just pull out a win, the Dane steadied himself and eventually took the third game and the match 21-19.  He celebrated the win by throwing his T-shirt and racket into the crowd.

There is no doubt who the French crowd’s favourite player is. Peter Gade (pictured) received a huge round of applause as he made his way onto the court for his match against German fifth seed Marc Zwiebler. From the first few points played, the crowd knew that this was going to be a long match as both players worked each other around the court.  Although the German took the first game it was the Dane who eventually won the next two games, to the delight of the crowd.  Earlier on the same court another crowd favourite, second-seeded Taufik Hidayat, eased past England’s Rajiv Ouseph.

Mixed doubles

Fourth seeds Sudket Prapakamol & Saralee Thoungthongkam met sixth seeded pair from England Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork as recently as last week at the semi-final stage of the Denmark Open.  That time, it was the English pair who came out on top.

Despite the English pair’s aggressive and positive start, it was the Thais who took the first game 22-20. Undeterred by the close loss, the English pair dominated the second game, with Jenny’s shouts of “C’mon” urging them on.  The third game was neck-and-neck all the way until the mid-game interval, when a dubious line call in favour of the English pair seem to ignite the Thais.  It was the Thais who then had match points at 20-18.  The English won back one of these, but a serve into the net by Jenny handed the match to the Thais.

Next up for the Thais are eighth-seeded compatriots Songphon Anugritayawon  & Kunchala Voravichitchaikul (pictured), who earlier in the evening managed to beat the second seeds and title favourites from Poland Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba in straight games 21-18, 21-19.  The Poles, who did not have the benefit of coaching advice, started the match really well but seemed to be lost after the first game’s mid-game interval and could never seem to come back after that.

Not only are the second seeds out of the tournament, but top-seeded Indonesians Hendra Aprida Gunawan and Vita Marissa also lost their quarter-final match in three games to the German pair Michael Fuchs / Birgit Overzier (pictured below), seeded seventh. The Germans seemed inspired by the win of their compatriots on the adjacent court moments earlier in the men’s doubles event.

But the last match of the evening was equally as exciting and it pitted former World Champions Thomas Laybourn / Kamilla Rytter Juhl against the Russia-Indonesia pairing of Anastasia Russkikh & Hendra Setiawan. After the first two games were split, the rubber proved to be a tight one throughout, with neither pair managing to score a healthy lead.  Both pairs had matchpoints for themselves, but in the end it was the Danish pair who managed to sneak into the next round by the narrowest of margins: 27-25 in the third game.

Men’s and women’s doubles

Luck was not on the Malaysians’ side as both remaining men’s doubles pairs were wiped out.  First to go were sixth seeds Gan Teik Chai / Tan Bin Shen, who despite a positive start, couldn’t stop Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan.  Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari  / Ong Soon Hock were the next victims as they had no answers to the tall, fired-up Germans Ingo Kindervater & Johannes Schöttler, who ousted the new Malaysian pairing in straight games 22-20, 21-18. Fifth-seeded Danish pair Mads Conrad-Petersen & Jonas Rasmussen seem to have found their stride as they reached their first Super Series semifinal after a hard-fought three game win against the English pair Chris Adcock / Andrew Ellis.

No major surprises in the women’s doubles event as only two out of the scheduled four scheduled matches were played. Top seeds Anastasia Russkikh & Petya Nedelcheva needed three games to get past Line Damkjaer Kruse / Mie Schjott-Kristensen. They will be up against scratch pair Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who had a much easier time against the English pairing of Mariana Agathangelou & Heather Olver.  The fifth of Thailand’s six victories actually came with the walkover ceded to Duang Anong Aroonkesorn / Kunchala Voravichitchaikul by Americans Eva Lee / Paula Obanana.

For complete quarter-final results from the 2010 Yonex French Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

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