INDONESIA OPEN 2011 SF – Peter or Chong Wei for Gold

Peter Gade and Lee Chong Wei will meet in a now classic match in the Premier Super Series final on Sunday, where local hopes will be alive with two shots […]

Peter Gade and Lee Chong Wei will meet in a now classic match in the Premier Super Series final on Sunday, where local hopes will be alive with two shots at gold, in the mixed and women’s doubles.

By Pendi Kwok, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

There is no doubt that Lee Chong Wei is now one of the two best men’s singles players in the world.  No one has beaten him this year, except his closest rival, Lin Dan.  But looking at his semi-final match in the Djarum Premier Super Series Badminton Championships versus Chen Long, it is very certain that he will have tough new rival very soon. 

Lee Chong Wei did manage to beat Chen Long (both pictured) by the close score of 21-17, 21-18; however, the match itself was a tough one for Lee Chong Wei.  In the first game, Lee Chong Wei dominated the first half of the game by leading 12-4, producing a lot of beautiful shots as usual.  But Chen Long started to fight back.  Trailing at 6-12, the Chinese played a very tight shot at the net, Lee were still able to return the shuttlecock, but it was too high and Chen just chopped it, Lee blocked the shuttlecock like in volleyball, but it was ruled a fault by the umpire. The combination of good cross-court net play and solid defence helped Chen to close the gap to 11-13.  But Lee did all his best to stop Chen from going even further, he maintained a 2 or 3-point lead until the end of the first game and won 21-17.

The second game saw a strong start by Chen, who led 4-1 before Lee caught up and then they showcase some great play throughout the rest of the match.  It was the experience and consistency on Lee’s side of the net that allowed him to close it out 21-18.

Lee will now play in the final for a third straight year.  However, unlike the last two times, when he has had to face the crowd’s overwhelming favourite Taufik Hidayat, this time he is up against Peter Gade (pictured right), who followed up his win over Taufik Thursday by beating the giant-killer Sho Sasaki of Japan 21-11, 21-14 in the other semi-final.

“Of course, I was surprised that Sho beat Chen Jin, even if he had beaten him in the past,” Peter told Badzine “but of course, for me it was better to play Sho Sasaki. I have a very good record against him and I tried to bank on that for today’s match. The Japanese players are improving a lot lately – Tago, Sho, Yamada – and he hasn’t reached this stage here for no reason, after beating Lin Dan and Chen Jin. So, I was prepared to play a tough match.

“Today it was very hot in the hall and I had to be careful not to waste too much energy. But things went my way – I was in control most of the time.”

Peter is in his best shape now.  The Dane has yet to lose a game in this tournament, including in his quarter-final against Taufik.  Peter commented on his chances in the final: “Now, against Lee Chong Wei, he’s the favourite. It takes a lot to be him in his form. I’ll be in the position of having to beat the favourite. For 15 years, it was the other way around and it’s nice to be the underdog too. I’ll just give it my best shot and enjoy the match. I can’t be any more pleased than my two tournaments in Singapore and here.”

Saina set for the hat-trick?

Saina Nehwal will be defending her title, again, in the women’s singles final, after beating Taiwan’s Cheng Shao Chieh, 21-14, 14-21, 21-17.  Saina, too, is the two-time defending champion.  But this time, the Indian will face a tough match against Wang Yihan (pictured), whom she has never beaten before.  Wang has 2-0 lead against Saina.  The Chinese defeated her compatriot, Jiang Yanjiao, 21-13, 21-12 in the other semi-final.

“I am really pleased with my game today. It was hard because my opponent fights for every point,”  said Saina.  “There were ups and downs because one side of the court is more affected by the draft, but I managed to keep the lead in the third game. That was important. I’m really feeling like home here in Indonesia. It’s the third final I’m playing in and I hope I can beat my Chinese opponent. I like to play against the Chinese.”

Last week’s Singapore Open mixed doubles champions, Tantowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (pictured), will be looking to grab their fourth title in a row, an impressive string that has seen then move into the number two spot in the world rankings as of this week.  The Indonesians advanced to the final after winning a tough match against Thomas Laybourn / Kamilla Rytter Juhl, 21-15, 12-14.  To win the fourth one, though, they will again need to prove themselves against the current world number ones, Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei.  The latter defeated Chen Hung Ling / Cheng Wen Hsing of Chinese Taipei 21-17, 21-17.

Kamilla Rytter Juhl, paired with Christinna Pedersen, lost her second semi-final match of the day in women’s doubles against Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang, 10-21, 12-21.  In the final, the Chinese will play against Vita Marissa / Nadya Melati.  The hometown heroines produced a very offensive display, pumping a lot of smashes that allowed them to dominate their match against Japan’s Mizuki Fujii / Reika Kakiiwa, 21-12, 21-12.  It will be interesting to see whether their offensive play will work well against the favourites, Wang/Yu in the final.

Doubles disappointments struck both brothers, Markis Kido and Bona Septano at opposite ends of the line-up on the main court Saturday.  They were playing in the men’s doubles semi-final matches with their respective partners, Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan.  Both of the pairs were playing against the Chinese.  Markis/Hendra lost to old rivals Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng, 18-21, 15-21 while Mohammad Ahsan / Bona Septano had the upper hand against Chai Biao / Guo Zhendong, but let it slip away in the end and fell 21-18, 11-21, 18-21 to the Malaysia Open champions.

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