SINGAPORE OPEN 2011 SF – Doubles Sensation

The Li-Ning Singapore Open 2011 doubles semi-finals definitely lived up to the expectations of Super Series semi-finals. It showcased the excitement that the lineup promised to be and proving that […]

The Li-Ning 2011 doubles semi-finals definitely lived up to the expectations of Super Series semi-finals. It showcased the excitement that the lineup promised to be and proving that booking a spot in the finals on Sunday was no easy task.

By Serla Rusli, live from Singapore. Photos (live): Badmintonphoto

Performing spectacularly to start the day was the fourth-seeded mixed doubles pair Tantowi Ahmad / Lilyana Natsir (pictured left) who triumphed over first seed Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei, 23-21, 21-16.

The ten-month-old duo fought to come back in the first game after lagging 15-20 to the Chinese. Zhang/Zhao then missed two consecutive game points and had to surrender the game to the Indonesians. Not only did it cost the current world #1 the game itself, but also ultimately their ticket to the finals as Tantowi/Lilyana became unstoppable in the second game.

Right from the start we knew that we had the ability to beat them. After winning the first game and making such a comeback, we had an extra boost of confidence,” commented three-time champion Lilyana after her match.

This victory against Zhang/Zhao was the first for the world #5 Indonesians as they narrowly lost in their past two encounters in Hong Kong and Korea.

We expected to play three games again against them today. However, it seemed that we were playing much better against them in the second game and thus didn’t have to play the third game,” added Lilyana.

Zhang/Zhao’s defeat means that mixed doubles will be the only final in Singapore to have no Chinese representatives.

The Indonesians’ opponents would be unseeded Chinese Taipei pair Chen Hung Ling / Cheng Wen Hsing (pictured right) who convincingly defeated Nathan Robertson/Jenny Wallwork, 21-12, 21-15.

Chen Hung Ling played really well today, but I made a lot of mistakes. Luckily my female opponent made a lot of mistakes too today, so both of us were just fighting to see who was playing worse,” Cheng Wen Hsing half-jokingly reviewed their performance in the match.

Before Singapore, our performance was just mediocre, so we are both really surprised that we could fight our way to the final. I think we are very lucky because we came here without any expectations,” said Cheng humbly as en route to the finals, the Chinese Taipei upset third seed Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen.

Second upset by Alvent/Hendra

After defeating 2010 Singapore Open champions Fang Chieh Min / Lee Sheng Mu in the first round, Alvent Yulianto Chandra/Hendra Aprida Gunawan created yet another upset by defeating seventh seeded Chai Biao / Guo Zhendong. In a repeat of their Thailand Open quarter-final match last week, the Indonesians emerged as the finalist of Singapore Open 2011 seventy-nine minutes later with 21-19, 24-26, 21-14.

The Indonesians could not wrap up the second game in their favour after three consecutive match points. The Chinese seemed to be breathing close at their necks up until they were level 13-all in the deciding game, when the Indonesians started their more aggressive attacks and clinched their spot in the finals.

Their victory prevented an all-Chinese final in men’s doubles. At the other side of the draw, Fu/Cai survived a hard-fought battle against Jung Jae Sung / Lee Yong Dae in 21-16, 23-21.

No Show for Japan in Finals

Despite having two spots in the women’s doubles semi-finals, Japan failed to send representatives for the finals as both second seeds Mizuki Fujii / Reika Kakiiwa and fourth seed Shizuka Matsuo / Mami Naito were upset by Korea and China respectively.

At first, Fujii/Kakiiwa managed to keep close in the race with opponents Ha Jung Eun / Kim Min Jung before they let the Koreans gain 7 consecutive points and lagged 12-19. It was then too far for the Japanese to close in the gap and finally lost 21-16. The second game was a much closer fight, but the Koreans still emerged as the winners in a tight 21-18 game.

Zhao Yunlei (pictured left) earned consolation from her defeat earlier in the mixed doubles event as she and her partner Tian Qing showcased a first-class performance against Matsuo/Naito and eventually made it to the finals in 23-21, 21-17 match.

For full results, click here.

For LIVE PHOTOS of the event, click on the Facebook Page of Badmintonphoto, Official Photo Agency of BWF.

About Serla Rusli