CHINA OPEN 2010 Day 3 – Intanon strikes again!

Ratchanok Intanon reached her first ever quarter-final of a Super Series by beating former World Champion Lu Lan in three hard games. The Chinese girls didn’t fail to live up […]

Ratchanok Intanon reached her first ever quarter-final of a Super Series by beating former World Champion Lu Lan in three hard games. The Chinese girls didn’t fail to live up to expectations and took six out of the eight spots in the quarter-final stage.

By Tarek Hafi.  Photos: BadmintonPhoto (live)

The young Thai player exhibited a wonderful match to outmanoeuvre Lu Lan, on Chinese soil.  Ratchanok Intanon probably had in mind her first steps into Super Series circuit, playing with the world’s best shuttlers at the Japan Open Super Series, where she first met today’s opponent Lu Lan (pictured below).  That occasion was, however, inauspicious as any dreams of a miraculous upset of the former World Champion were unfulfilled and the Thai was sent back home earlier than expected. But the fifteen-year-old has achieved a lot during the last three months, winning a Grand Prix and a Grand Prix Gold tournament, knocking out various top players along the way, and scoring a game off the World #1 at the Asian Games.

It was this more experienced Ratchanok that Lu Lan distinctly witnessed today, which is not facilitating the latter’s way back to the top of the world, a place she used to be included in, having dropped to the 40th spot in the world rankings, although she was in the top five earlier this year. The two-time World Junior Champion still had to fight her heart out to pull off such a great performance and needed to use  her full mental and physical strength as she was constantly pressured by the Chinese.

Still, Ratchanok had the best start in this match, persistently leading the way in the first game. While the Chinese wasn’t far from equalizing, she took the appropriate chance to go ahead and grab the first game point at 20-19.  This was nothing to be afraid of for Ratchanok as she quickly levelled the game up  and took the opening game 23-21. Nonetheless, Lu Lan has more than her own share of experience and achievement and shewas able to shake it off.  At 15-15 in the second, the Chinese scored six consecutive points to fly towards a third and last game to secure a quarter-final place.

But it was the junior player who was eventually commanding the match.  Even if Lu Lan assaulted the Thai with lethal attacks to level up the game, the Chinese veteran failed to score the last point while Ratchanok Intanon converted her only match point at 20-19 to earn her first quarter-final place in a Super Series event, where she will be set to meet Jiang Yanjiao, seeded 4th.

The 7th seed Bae Youn Joo will be the other non-Chinese player in the quarter-final after an easy win over Taiwan’s Cheng Shao Shieh while in the men’s field, 6th seed Nguyen Tien Minh fell into the trap of qualifier Zhang Sheng after a three-game battle.  That leaves Jan O. Jorgensen swimming in a sea of 7 Chinese fellow quarter-finalists.

While the more open men’s doubles category will offer a third fantastic battle for the third time in three weeks between Lee Yong Dae / Jung Jae Sung and locals Fu Haifeng / Cai Yun, the Koreans having won the last two encounters in dramatic ways.

Quarter-finals to watch:

MS:  Jan O Jorgensen vs Du Pengyu

WS:  Ratchanok Intanon vs Jiang Yanjiao

MD:  Jung Jae Sung / Lee Yong Dae vs Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng

WD:  Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi vs Tian Qing / Pan Pan

XD:  Ko Sung Hyun / Ha Jung Eun vs Ma Jin / He Hanbin

About Tarek Hafi