CANADA OPEN 2011 QF – Pi outwits Li

Former world #2 Pi Hongyan of France came back from a game down to end Canada’s women’s singles hopes in the 2011 Yonex Canada Open, beating Michelle Li in three. […]

Former world #2 Pi Hongyan of France came back from a game down to end Canada’s women’s singles hopes in the 2011 Yonex , beating Michelle Li in three.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Richmond.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

A tiny crowd was on hand at the start of proceedings on Friday at the Olympic Speed Skating Oval in Richmond, B.C. for the quarter-finals of the 2011 Yonex Canada Open Badminton Championships.  The crowd slowly grew but so did their interest in the happenings on court.  It was all polite appreciation until 19-year-old Michelle Li (pictured) tied her first game at 8-all with an assertive smash down Pi Hongyan’s backhand side.

Li went on to maintain the upper hand in that first game and take the one game lead with a 21-19 win.  But Pi Hongyan was firmly in control of the two remaining games.

Both players had trouble finding the lines with their lifts and with judging the shuttle flight of their opponent’s shots but Pi remained more consistent and led throughout both games to win it 19-21, 21-14, 21-17 and leave Li to hope for better in her women’s doubles match later against top seeds and defending champions Cheng/Chien.

“In the second game, I had the wind at my back and I started to make mistakes,” said Michelle Li after her match.  “I wouldn’t say I had a problem with my stamina and I certainly think I’ll be ready for my doubles match later.

“It is also a case where Pi just has so much more experience than I do and she knows just when and where to hit it to keep me off and she can adapt the rhythm so well.

“Losing the singles will definitely make me hungrier to go out and win the doubles.  Plus this will be one of our best results if we can make the semi-finals at a here and playing our best against the top seeds is a great chance.

“All the tournaments I play these days are important – including the Worlds, the Pan Am Games and the Canada Open – because they are all helping us accumulate points toward the Olympics. But at the same time, it’s everything: playing here in Canada in front of friends and family is great because they can see us improving and we really want to play well in the doubles so they can see us.”

Pi now goes on to face U.S. Open champion and 16-year-old Tai Tzu Ying.  Tai won in a pair of 21-15 games against Japan’s Megumi Taruno and will attempt to set up an all-Taiwan final against Cheng Shao Chieh, who beat another Japanese challenger, Kaori Imabeppu.

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @