CHINA MASTERS 2011 R16 – Hafiz troubles Lin, Maeda/Suetsuna out

Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia must have been delighted when he took the first game from Lin Dan and looked as if he will be welcoming his first victory over […]

Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia must have been delighted when he took the first game from Lin Dan and looked as if he will be welcoming his first victory over the invincible Chinese after eight long years. On the other hand, women’s doubles Xia Huan / Tang Jinhua delighted the crowd by upsetting another top pair, Miyuki Maeda / Satoko Suetsuna of Japan.

By Ooi Ee Lyn, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

The first big surprise of the day came when Malaysia’s Muhammad Hafiz Hashim (photo) stole the first game in his match against Lin Dan. Muhammad Hafiz was an All England Champion way back in 2003, when Super Dan had yet to make his name big on the professional circuit. In September the same year, Lin Dan won their first meeting in the Denmark Open 2003, and it was since then that the war-path between the two took up. The Malaysian had suffered six more defeats since then, over the change in the point system.

Today in the Xincheng Gymnasium, Muhammad Hafiz had taken the first game 21-14, and was 18-14 ahead in the second game, expecting to secure his first victory against Lin Dan (photo) after seven helpless defeats throughout eight long years. However, Lin Dan then arose and hammered seven straight points to bag the second game 21-18. There was nothing the Malaysian could do in the deciding game, as he fell very soon in 21-9 to Lin Dan, marking his eighth loss against the Chinese legend.

Earlier in the day in the men’s doubles match, recent Chinese Taipei Open semi-finalists, Korea’s Kim Ki Jung / Shin Baek Cheol seemed determined to prove themselves capable of earning victories even in the presence of Chinese pairs. Kim/Shin took started off well in the first game against China’s Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng, but they were forced to allow the Chinese pair to easily scoop a quarter-finals ticket with a 15-21, 21-19, 21-19 victory.

After upsetting the World Champion bronze medallists last night, 2009 World Junior Champions Xia Huan / Tang Jinhua continued their dark horse run by creating an even bigger upset, defeating the second seeds, Miyuki Maeda / Satoko Suetsuna (photo) of Japan. Xia Huan, 19, and Tang Jinhua, 20, took three games to dispose of the Japanese world #2 21-18, 12-21, 21-19. They are now expecting to meet Cheng Shu / Pan Pan – who will play against Malaysia’s Ng Hui Ern / Ng Hui Lin later – and secure a semi-final spot in the women’s doubles for China.

Korean pairs fall among big guns

As pointed out in a recent article on the Badminton World Federation official site, the South Koreans will have to prove they can do well when the big guns from China are around. Sad enough to say, Ko Sung Hyun / Eom Hye Won, who attracted attention when they were crowned mixed doubles champions in Taipei last week, had no way out of the World Champions’ setup.  Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei breezed past the Koreans 21-18, 21-14 and along with their compatriots, Xu Chen / Ma Jin – who cleared Japan’s Kenta Kazuno / Ayaka Takahashi – secured a semi-final spot for China with a quarter-final match among themselves.

The Chinese pairs will then expect to meet a Dane on Saturday, as the other quarter on Friday will host a Dane-Dane matchup between Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (photo) and Thomas Laybourn / Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who advanced past Indonesia’s Nova Widianto / Vita Marissa and China’s Hong Wei / Pan Pan, respectively.

Following Ko/Eom’s defeat earlier in the day, Lee Yong Dae / Ha Jung Eun were also brushed off in the second round, by India’s Diju Valiyaveetil / Jwala Gutta in 21-19, 21-17. The Koreans then faced the elimination of a third mixed pair, Kim/Jung, by Britain’s Robert Blair / Gabrielle White. That left Yoo Yeon Seong / Jang Ye Na – who triumphed over Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia – as Korea’s last mixed pair standing. Yoo/Jang will then have to make it past Chris Adcock / Imogen Bankier – fresh from defeating Taipei’s Chen / Cheng – to enter the semi-finals on Saturday.

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About Ee-Lyn Ooi