AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2011 SF – Porntip ousts World Champion

Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk saved a match point before sending World Champion Wang Lin packing early while earning her first ever Grand Prix finals appearance.  Malaysia and Thailand will both be […]

Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk saved a match point before sending World Champion Wang Lin packing early while earning her first ever finals appearance.  Malaysia and Thailand will both be contesting two finals at the Australian Badminton Open while Japan has one title in the bag and 3 more in sight.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Andrew Greenway (live from Melbourne)

Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (pictured) has quietly been making a name for herself despite all the attention that her younger compatriot Ratchanok Intanon has drawn with her two World Junior titles and two Grand Prix titles.  Meanwhile, the 19-year-old Thai has herself been busy, reaching two Super Series semi-finals in the past six months and pushing two of China’s top players to three games last fall.

Now the time may finally have arrived for Porntip, as she fought back from a 15-19 deficit and saved one match point before finally besting reigning World Champion Wang Lin 14-21, 22-20, 21-17 to reach her first ever Grand Prix final.

On the other side of the draw, Ratchanok had the opposite fortune as it was the 16-year-old who was perilously close to winning her semi-final in two straight, before letting the match slip away and allowing Liu Xin to prevail 15-21, 22-20, 21-12.

Liu Xin (pictured) is herself struggling with the even broader shadow cast by her own stellar compatriots but she, too, has been patiently racking up the results over the past year, winning 3 Grand Prix titles and reaching one Super Series final.  But with a title here and continued strong performances, she might be able to make good on the bitter-sweet opportunity presented by the recent injury troubles that have afflicted two of her team-mates.

If no younger Wang, then two elder Wongs

The men’s singles saw Malaysian veteran Wong Choong Hann shut down Tommy Sugiarto in two straight.  The 23-year-old Indonesian has won 4 International Challenges in the past six months and, with his surprise ousting of Boonsak Ponsana in the quarter-finals, Tommy looked ready to contest his first ever Grand Prix final but Wong quashed those hopes.

Choong Hann, though, was neither the only Malaysian nor the only owner of that surname to see semi-final success in the semi-finals.  Former world #1’s Wong Pei Tty and Chin Eei Hui, playing in their first tournament since injury struck Wong in Taipei last summer, beat Hong Kong’s Poon/Tse to reach the final.

Japan in search of more Oceanian gold

Wong Choong Hann’s challenger for the men’s singles title, Sho Sasaki of Japan, also had his biggest moment in the quarter-finals, offing defending champion Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam but his win over Hong Kong’s Chan Yan Kit took him almost as long.  But Sho’s victory was just one part of a red-letter day for Japan.

Thailand and Japan traded wins in the mixed doubles, with both countries’ lower-ranked pairs the ones to advance to the finals.  Top seeds Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam went down to #5 seeds Hirokatsu Hashimoto / Mizuki Fujii (pictured above left) while second-seeded Songphon Anugritayawon / Kunchala Voravichitchaikul bested third seeds Shintaro Ikeda / Reiko Shiota.

Shizuka Matsuo / Mami Naito (pictured right), who really found the China-beating formula at this year’s All England, were never really in danger against Chinese youngsters Ou/Xiong.  They take on the Malaysians in the women’s doubles final, while the men’s final will be an all-Japanese contest.

For complete semi-final results from the 2011 Yonex Grand Prix Gold, CLICK HERE

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @