THAILAND OPEN 2011 QF – China and Korea Keep Rolling Along

The powerhouse Chinese and Korean badminton machines kept rolling into Saturday’s semi-final round at the SGC Thailand Open. Although both teams suffered losses during Friday’s quarter-final round, China will be […]

The powerhouse Chinese and Korean badminton machines kept rolling into Saturday’s semi-final round at the SGC . Although both teams suffered losses during Friday’s quarter-final round, China will be represented in seven of the ten matches to be played on Saturday afternoon in Bangkok; Korean players will fight it out in five of the semi-final matchups.

By Gerald Jew, Badzine Correspondent live from Bangkok. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives) and Gerald Jew (live).

Fourth-seeded Porntip Buranaprasertsuk will be Thailand’s last remaining hope to keep one of the titles in the host country as the top two mixed doubles seeds, Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam and Songphon Anugritayawon / Kunchala Vorivichitchaikul, both went down to defeat, disappointing the local fans who turned out to cheer on their favourites in early quarter-final action.

Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Shao Chieh will do battle in one of the women’s singles semi-finals and the mixed doubles duo of Lee Sheng Mu and Chien Yu Chin will play China’s Xu Chen and Ma Jin for a chance to play in Sunday’s final.

Indonesia’s Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Hendra Aprida Gunawan will face off against Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Yoo Yeo Seong in one men’s doubles matchup and Indonesian teammates Nova Widianto and and Vita Marissa will meet yet another Korean team, the mixed doubles pair of Shin Baek Cheol and Kim Min Jung.

Malaysia and Hong Kong will be represented by the women’s doubles team of Vivian Hoo / Woon Kei Wei and Poon Lok Yan / Tse Ying Suet. The USA’s Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan also moved on for the chance to play on Sunday.

Buranaprasertsuk, the nineteen-year-old, ninth-ranked player in the world, beat Korea’s eighth-seeded Sung Ji Hyun 21-16, 21-19 to keep Thailand’s last remaining hope alive. Thailand’s National Coach, Sompol Kookasemkit explained Buranaprasertsuk’s strategy, “We try to get her to play with more safety.  She’s young and aggressive but makes mistakes (when she’s too aggressive). We want her to keep the points alive and to be aggressive only when she has easy chances.” He added, “She sometimes tries to end the points too quickly.”

India’s top-seeded Saina Nehwal lost to China’s Li Xuerui 13-21, 12-21 in a relatively quick thirty-minute match. The world’s fourth-ranked Nehwal is still recovering from a nasty treadmill accident and was not at the top of her game. Although not making excuses for her loss, Nehwal said after the match, “It’s getting better every day, but it’s quite a problem to bend my knee. I hope to be near 100% for next week’s Singapore Open and in Indonesia after that.”

The sixth-seeded Cheng defeated Korea’s third seeded Bae Youn Joo 21-19, 21-17 in a thirty-five minute affair that saw the lightning-quick Cheng fly all over the court to make some miraculous saves.

Cheng, who had beaten Bae twice before last night’s match, was ecstatic after her win, “I don’t really care if I win or lose, I just want to enjoy myself and do my best. I felt slow tonight and was tight.” Anyone that that had the pleasure to watch Cheng’s highly entertaining  style of play would say that Cheng was anything but slow, or tight.

In men’s singles, Wang Zhengming who brought down “Superman” Boonsak Ponsana the night before, ended his championship run with a loss to sixth-seeded Lee Hyun Il. The sixth-seeded Lee lost the opening game 18-21 before taking the final two games by identical scores of 21-9, 21-9.

Lee’s Korean team-mate, Park Sung Hwan was stretched to his second three-game match in two days, but overcame a tough early challenge by India’s Sourabh Verma to advance to the semi-finals 16-21, 21-16, 21-11.

China’s top-seeded Chen Long and fourth-seeded Chen Jin both advanced, with victories over Kashyap P and Wong Choong Hann respectively. Chen Long beat India’s Kashyap P 21-18, 21-5 and Chen Jin easily defeated Malaysia’s Wong in a thirty-one minute 21-9, 21-7 win.

Wong said after the match, “I didn’t have a chance tonight.  He [Chen Jin] was just too good.  I’ll head back to Malaysia tomorrow, rest for a day and get ready for Singapore.”

Chen Long will face Park and Chen Jin will take on Lee in Saturday’s semi-final matchups.

Korea’s number one seeded team of Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung, who have still yet to lose a game in Bangkok, will face the USA’s Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan in one of today’s men’s doubles semi-finals. Lee and Jung easily beat the German pair of Ingo Kindervater and Johannes Shoettler, 21-11, 21-13.

Bach and Gunawan, the tournament’s eighth seeds, beat Chinese Taipei’s number three-seeded team of Fang Chieh Min and Lee Sheng Mu, 21-10, 21-17, in a twenty-four-minute, two-game match. After the match, Bach explained, “We don’t have much strategy, we just need to execute and be ourselves. We tried to keep hitting the shuttle flat and avoid hitting lifts. I’m comfortable with Tony as the playmaker and confident I can do my job of smashing from the backcourt.”

Indonesia’s Chandra and Gunawan, the fourth seeds, beat Malaysia Open champions Chai Biao and Guo Zhendong 21-17, 21-18 in a forty-one minute match to move into Saturday’s semi-finals. Korea’s number two seeded team of Ko Sung Hyun and Yoo Yeon Seong will look to move into the finals after taking a three-game match from Malaysia’s Goh Wei Shem and Lim Khim Wah. Lim was the last remaining defending champion in the tournament.  He won the men’s doubles with Chan Peng Soon in 2009, but he and Goh could not find a way past their toughest of three Korean opponents in two days.

The women’s doubles saw China’s fifth-seeded and highest remaining seeds Qian Ting and Zhao Yunlei defeat Korea’s Jung Kyung Eun and Kim Ha Na by scores of 21-16, 21-12 in a thirty-four minute match. They will face Poon Lak Yan and Tse Ying Suet of Hong Kong, who beat England’s Mariana Agathangelou and Heather Olver, 21-15, 21-19. Malaysia’s Vivian Hoo and Woon Khe Wei beat Indonesia’s Anneke Feinya Agustin and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari, 21-18, 21-19.

China’s seventh-seeded Cheng Shu and Bao Yixin will face Hoo and Woon on Saturday, they earned their place in the semi-finals by beating Indonesia’s Imawan Gebby Ristiyani and Nuraida Tiara Rosalia, 21-8, 21-10, and looked poised to set up an all-Chinese final in their first outing as a pair.

The SGC Thailand Open 2011 continues at 12:00 noon on Saturday at the Sports Complex at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. Badzine will once again be on hand to cover the tournament live.

For complete quarter-final results from the 2011 SCG Thailand Open Gold, CLICK HERE

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