MALAYSIA OPEN 2011 SF – Danish injury seals China’s 3rd gold

In what promised to be Saturday’s most exciting mixed doubles match between injury struck Joachim Fischer Nielsen  sending He Hanbin and Ma Jin through to one of 3 all-China finals. […]

In what promised to be Saturday’s most exciting mixed doubles match between injury struck Joachim Fischer Nielsen  sending He Hanbin and Ma Jin through to one of 3 all-China finals.

By Lee Suet Yan, Badzine Correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen (pictured) were flying high coming into Saturday’s semi-final against He and Ma.  Having finished 2010 by winning the Hong Kong Open, they made up for not earning an invitation to defend their Super Series Finals title by beating their successors in the quarter-finals.

In the first game of the semi-final, they Danes led early, helped in part by a service fault that was called on He.  As expected, He and Ma tried to argue the call with the umpire, but the umpire awarded the point to the Danes, putting them up 9-6.  With the Chinese pair 11-12 down, the Danes executed a quick smash attack on He/Ma, but the Chinese pair defended well, and changed the pace and angle to take the attack.

The Danes made a few mistakes after the interval to give to Chinese pair a six-point lead at 19-13.  Then a service fault was called the other way, on Pedersen when they were 15-19 down to give the Chinese pair their first game point 20-15. The Danes were able to save two game points before the Chinese pair converted the game 21-17 when Ma hit a sharp and accurate smash, and the shuttle just fell on the sideline.

The second game saw the Danes playing catch-up throughout but their efforts were halted at 14-17 due to Fischer Nielsen’s injury (pictured right), allowing the Chinese pair to advance to the final.

“My knee was very bad today.  I got an operation a few months ago and this knee has been good for the last couple of months. But, it has been very bad in this tournament from the second round, and today we had to stop because I could not play at full speed,” said Fischer Nielsen.

Asked whether Friday’s 69-minute marathon was too much for Nielsen, he answered: “I think we should have won in two sets yesterday so we would have been better today. I am quite disappointed, disappointed also for my partner as I cannot play. We have to go to Korea, but we’ll see how it goes.

“I think I had some problems with my knee, basically my bone.  There is a cut and I had surgery and I’ve been trying to get back but today, I just couldn’t.”

“We couldn’t have won the match today because we could not play at full speed, but if we could have played at full speed, we would have had a chance against the Chinese. I don’t want to take any risks.  We will try our best and we want to play here in Malaysia, but we can’t take any risks because it is going to be a long season.”

“We’re disappointed of course but we’ve come to the understanding that if we’re not 100% prepared, we can’t win a semi-final in the Super Series,” added Pedersen.  “So, that’s how it is.  I can’t play without Joachim so we have to be careful. Hopefully we’ll be ready next week, and then we will be able to go home, he will get treatment and then be ready again and come back again.”

Two Wangs make a right, into the final

With concerns circling about Fischer Nielsen’s injury, Wang Shixian (pictured left), who had struggled against Cheng Shao Hsieh in the quarter-finals, was winning her battle against team-mate Jiang Yanjiao on court 2.  She defeated Jiang 21-19, 21-17.  The twin European losses in mixed doubles may have guaranteed China a gold in that discipline but the destination of the women’s titles was known far earlier, as China had wrapped up all 8 women’s semi-final spots by the end of play on Friday.

Another Wang, who has also earned herself a spot in the final, is Wang Yihan (pictured right).   It has been quite a while since Yihan has won a title with her strongest team-mates present, but on Saturday she found her form against defending champion Wang Xin, winning 21-18, 21-18 today to get herself into her first final of the year. It is a good sign to boost her confidence as she has been down for a long period of time even while her younger compatriots are starting to shine.

“I did not handle it well in the first game, and I always been pressured and feel uncomfortable as I made a lot of mistakes in the first game,” said Wang Xin after the defeat.

“In the second game, I was thinking too much when I was leading. This was my first defeat in this stadium as I won the Malaysia Open title last year and all my Uber Cup matches in this stadium. I am quite disappointed today. But Malaysia is a very nice country and Malaysia is also a lucky place for me although I was a bit unlucky today, but I hope to come again next year.”

For complete semi-final results from the 2011 Proton Malaysia Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

About Suetyan Lee