SINGAPORE OPEN 2011 SF – Last Wang Standing

Day 5 of competition saw Denmark’s Tine Baun hold off Wang Shixian to prevent an all-Chinese final, leaving the last Wang – Wang Xin – to fend China’s title hope […]

Day 5 of competition saw Denmark’s Tine Baun hold off Wang Shixian to prevent an all-Chinese final, leaving the last Wang – Wang Xin – to fend China’s title hope in the women’s singles event. Wang Xin ended Yao Jie’s dream run in the tournament with a comfortable 21-13, 21-11 victory.

By Pearlyn Kwang, live from Singapore. Photos (live): Badmintonphoto

Sixth-seeded Tine Baun held firm in the face of a fierce start on the part of Wang Shixian (photo left) to win 21-15, 21-16 and make it to the finals here in Singapore again, after being crowned champion in 2008. The top seed raced swiftly to a 7-1 lead in the first game, but Tine managed to control her nerves and carried off the next seven points with brio – the tide now turned to the Dane’s favour. From then on, it all went downhill for the current Chinese badminton poster girl as Tine dominated the remainder of the match, not once letting Wang take the lead.

Wang Shixian felt that her performance was lackluster today. “I had trouble defending her shots as she hit really hard. I felt the pressure and was not able to defend well. When she started to attack so furiously, I became dishevelled and couldn’t think properly. I played well in the opening but didn’t grab hold of the opportunity.”

Tine reflected on the match, “I started slow in the first set and adjusted my play accordingly to the draft. I always believed that I had a chance. Wang probably has more pressure as there were high expectations of her.”

When asked if she felt indignant about the spotlight being on her younger Chinese counterparts this week despite her good performance, the 31-year-old shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. I just want to go in and try my best and play my game.”

Having successfully overpowered one of China’s mighty Wangs, Tine will now hope to take a step further in the finals tomorrow to make that two, in what will be a rematch of last year’s China Masters final as the Dane takes on world number 2 Wang Xin (photo right). Coincidentally, it was also the Dane’s last Super Series final appearance, which saw her succumb easily to her opponent, whom she has yet to beat in 6 attempts. Will history repeat itself? Or will it be sweet revenge for Tine this time?

“I’ll do my best, but I just aim to enjoy the game. I don’t think too much because now I just want to relax and enjoy Singapore.”

Another rubber game for Lin Dan

After Simon Santoso gave Lin Dan a run for his money yesterday, it was Peter Gade’s (photo bottom left) turn today to stretch the top Chinese player to three games.  Saving four game points to nick the first game, the Danish veteran got the crowd pumping with excitement, but ultimately, he was unable to sustain his excellent play as Lin upped his game to clinch the match 20-22, 21-17, 21-15.

“Playing against Lin Dan, you have to play well throughout. I felt today I had a good chance because at some parts of the game he was a little insecure. Closing the gap would open up a lot of possibilities but in the third game he had the lead and it was difficult for me to close in on him,” commented Gade.

“He may not have had his best day but he was really good at some points which made it very difficult for me. But I’m still very happy about my game. I fought my way back in the first game. Not many players can come back from 16-20 against Lin Dan, so…that was good.”

Lin, feeling generous, agreed. “Peter played very well today. I hope I would be able to play as well as him when I’m 35…”

And so it will be the Olympic bronze medallist versus the gold medallist in tomorrow’s all-Chinese final as Chen Jin brushed aside team-mate Wang Zhengming 21-17, 21-11 in the other semi-final tie. When asked to rate his chance of success in the finals tomorrow, Lin remarked, “Winning is not my main goal. I’m already pleased with my performance as this is the first time I’ve made it this far in Singapore.”

He added,“I know many people don’t like to see Lin Dan win, but they still hope to see Lin Dan play. So I will continue to maintain my form and fitness and play on as long as I can and am needed. Winning is now a superficial thing to me. There are other things more important than winning. What I hope to do now is to use my influence to push the sport forward and do something meaningful to help others.”

For full results, click here.

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

About Pearlyn Kwang