CHINA OPEN 2011 SF – Beware of Joachim and Christinna

Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen entered their fifth consecutive final in five back-to-back Super Series events. They are slowly becoming one of the main contenders for the London Olympic […]

Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen entered their fifth consecutive final in five back-to-back Super Series events. They are slowly becoming one of the main contenders for the London Olympic Games. Even if they are reluctant to think about it yet.

By Raphael Sachetat, live from Shanghai. Photos (live): Badmintonphoto

A big smile on their faces and a warm hand shake to their opponents: this is how Christinna Pedersen and Joachim Fischer Nielsen have been ending their semi-finals lately. This time was no different against Thailand’s affable but dangerous Songphon Anugritayawon and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul (pictured below).

As they made their way to the mixed zone, some cheerleaders wearing oriental belly dancer outfits were entering the hall with loud music. Time for a quick post match interview with 3 reporters – only one from China, Yuchen Lu from Xinhua Agency – who might have guessed that these Danes may become China’s biggest threat to Chinese path to the Olympic Gold in the mixed doubles category.

We’re not yet thinking about the Olympics, but it’s good that we can get to play our best game now. This is what we’ve been doing lately and it feels really good. Right now, it is important for us that we can get some good victories so that, when the time comes, we can adjust our schedule and not play too many competitions just before the Olympics,” said a delighted Pedersen.

As for the reason behind the recent peak in their form, Fischer Nielsen said, “First of all, we are both injury free and that might be the main reason. We’ve worked hard and it’s paying off now. I am able to move around the court faster and Christinna has improved a lot as well. Even if there are some things to improve, still, we are playing with a lot of confidence.”  Fischer Nielsen had suffered a serious injury to his knee about a year and a half ago.

It wasn’t a done deal as the Thai pair had given them a tough time and were ahead on the head-to-head statistics. “We knew we had to play our best game and we had prepared for that,” said Pedersen. With their win in straight games 21-18, 21-14 in 34 minutes, the left-hander and his smiling compatriot are entering their fifth straight final in a Super Series. They had lost in Japan to Chen and Cheng back in September, then won the Danish, French Super Series in October before kneeling to Zhang and Zhao last Sunday in Hong Kong. They might face again the World Champions this Sunday for a match which should be another thriller: in the five times they have met, the Danes won four times, each time either 22-20 or 21-19 in the decider. Zhang and Zhao are to play their compatriots Tao Jiaming and Xia Huang in the evening session.

Korea’s party spoiled by Danish kings

Wearing pink and purple respectively, the two Korean pairs Ko/Yoo and Jung/Lee  were hoping to meet in the final of the event. Ko Sung Hyun and Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured) were probably not expecting to play Japan’s  Sato and Kawamae in the semi-finals but the latter were given a bye through Friday’s quarter-final by Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng due to Fu’s headache. And in spite of a good run by the Japanese in the second game, the Koreans were one class above and clinched their success 21-12, 21-18.

For Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung, the path was not so easy… as they met arch-rivals Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen (pictured below). The latter had skipped the Hong Kong Open to focus on the Premier event, and it could have been the right choice when it came down to the wire, in the deciding game, where the Koreans obviously were lacking that extra bit of energy to finish the match, while the Danes could hammer down the crucial smashes to take it home after a thriller.

Earlier in the day, Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli had made light work of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa 21-13, 21-14.

Chen Long tops Simon

In the last match of the afternoon session, Chen Long beat Simon Santoso in 44 minutes, with a pair of 21-14 games, and is now waiting to see whether he will play against his compatriot Lin Dan or world #1 Lee Chong Wei for what promises to be the highlight of the evening for the Pudong spectators as all four other matches are featuring all-Chinese encounters.

Semi-final results – afternoon session
MD: Ko/Yoo (KOR) beat Kawamae/Sato (JPN) 21-12, 21-18
XD: Fischer-Nielsen/Pedersen (DEN) beat Anugritayawon/Voravichitchaikul (THA) 21-18, 21-14
WD: Wang/Yu (CHN) beat Fujii/Kakiiwa (JPN) 21-12, 21-13
MD: Boe/Mogensen (DEN) beat Jung/Lee (KOR) 19-21, 23-21, 22-20
MS: Chen Long (CHN) beat Simon Santoso (INA) 21-14, 21-14

All results HERE

Live feed here (Courtesy of BWF)

Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.