MALAYSIA GPG 2011 SF – Home team goes for 3

Malaysia, which had never had more than 2 representatives in the final since the Super Series and Grand Prix Gold tournaments were introduced, created history in Alor Star Saturday night when […]

Malaysia, which had never had more than 2 representatives in the final since the Super Series and Gold tournaments were introduced, created history in Alor Star Saturday night when Lee Chong Wei, Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying and Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong won their matches in interesting fashion, each earning a Sunday title shot.

By Wilson Chew, Badzine Correspondent live in Alor Setar.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

Though heavy favourites in their semi-final, Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong (pictured) did not simply run away with their match against Ruud Bosch / Koen Ridder of the Netherlands.  However, in the end, the Malaysians won because of their experience. There were glimpses of erratic display from them and although the Dutch pair fought back, it was enough for them as Koo/Tan managed to stop the rot in the rubber game to win the match.

“We wanted to win so badly but started playing blindly and conceded many mistakes.  We have to be more focussed tomorrow if we are to end our title drought,” said Kien Keat. “The Dutch pair have been playing well but we should have finished the game off earlier.”

Sho Sasaki failed to give Lee Chong Wei (pictured) the kind of challenge that brought him to semi-finals past Park Sung Hwan and Chen Jin in the earlier rounds. Lee Chong Wei, with his usual display of skills and deception of shots, is truly a man of his own.

“It was a good victory as I managed to stay focussed after a slow start,” said Chong Wei.  “I’m not worried about who I will face in the final. I will concentrate on my own game and prepare myself as I always do.”

After 4 previous meetings against Fran Kurniawan / Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth, Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying finally found the way to beat the Indonesian pair. The Indonesian pair’s tactics were well read by the Malaysian pair and a lot of unforced errors from the Indonesian pair gave the vital points to Peng Soon and Liu Ying, who won the match in straight games.

“I’m so very happy not just to reach the final but also to finally beat the Indonesians,” said Peng Soon.  “We gave it our all and I would like to thank the supporters, who were tremendous.  They lifted us and helped us to score this convincing victory.”

“I really enjoyed the supported and I think it helped me today.  I went all out as this is our home ground and I wanted to reach the final,” added Liu Ying.

Bao Chunlai was stretched to 3 games by Nguyen Tien Minh and it was breath-taking all the way from the start. The Vietnamese has great fighting spirit and caught Chunlai by surprise with his impressive returns and aggression.  He finally won 21-12, 19-21, 21-14 and will meet Lee Chong Wei in the final.

Saina Nehwal (pictured) will meet Wang Xin in the final after disposing of the two Korean players, Sung Ji Hyun and Bae Youn Joo respectively.  Thus, neither Korean was able to break her winless streak against her opponent.

The women’s doubles will be an all-Japanese affair. Both pairs won easily in straight games against their Chinese and Indonesian opponents. Luo Ying / Luo Yu (pictured below) tried their best, especially in the second game, but failed to force a rubber against Matsuo/Naito, who already proved at the All England this year, that they were capable of silencing China’s best pairs.

Alvent Yulianto Chandra / Hendra Aprida Gunawan’s match against Cho Gun Woo / Kwon Yi Goo was the closest among all the semi-final matches.  The Indonesians were brilliant in the first game, winning it 21-16. They continued their impressive form in the second game but luck seemed to run out at 16-16. The Koreans fight all the way and won 21-19.

In the rubber game, it was the Koreans’ turn to be unlucky at the crucial part of the game. It was 16-16, 17-17, 18-18 and the Indonesians got it done at the right time to win the third game 21-18. They will meet Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong in the final.

Tantowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir complete the list of finalists by beating 2nd-seeded Thais Songphon Anugritayawon / Kunchala Voravichitchaikul 21-13, 14-21, 21-12.  They will face Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying in the final, where they will attempt to take a second consecutive title.

With history created by Malaysia of having 3 finalists in either the Grand Prix Gold or Super Series tournament, it is going to be an exciting Sunday. The stadium is packed with spectators and the cheers truly motivated the Malaysian players to do well. Will there be more history created on finals day?

For complete semi-final results, CLICK HERE

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