HONG KONG OPEN 2011 SF – Danes, Koreans ready for China

The night session of the 2011 Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open Super Series saw Korea and Denmark preparing to prevent a clean Chinese sweep in tomorrow’s final. By Gregory Chan, Badzine […]

The night session of the 2011 Yonex-Sunrise Super Series saw Korea and Denmark preparing to prevent a clean Chinese sweep in tomorrow’s final.

By Gregory Chan, Badzine Correspondent live in Hong Kong.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Danes threaten for a third

After Tine Baun’s victory earlier today, her team-mates Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen followed suit with a straight-game win over China’s 2nd seeds Xu Chen / Ma Jin.

Both pairs were equally matched during the earlier stages of the first game, with the scores neck-and-neck until after the mid-game interval, where the Danes managed to score 8 consecutive points after being 11-14 down and subsequently took the first game 21-16.

The second game was more straightforward as the Danes were able to capitalize on Xu Chen’s increasing frustration, which affected the Chinese pair’s play. The Danes won the second game 21-12 and this third straight win over Xu/Ma thus gave them the chance to defend their title and also to win their third Super Series event.

Asked whether they have any preference on which team to face in the finals, Joachim answered “We don’t mind playing against any one of them, as they are both among the best pairs in the world. We’ll just focus for tomorrow and enjoy our win today.

The match was more difficult than the score suggests, but overall we played very well, especially in the first set,” said Christinna after the win. “We knew that Xu Chen was getting frustrated with his play, and also we tried to keep Ma Jin away from the net, where she’s really strong.

It feels good that we have beaten them three times in a row, but it might be different the next time around as the Chinese are very strong,” said Joachim.

Their opponents for tomorrow ended up being China’s top seeds Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei, who enjoyed a comfortable straight-game win over Japan Open champions Chen Hung Ling / Cheng Wen Hsing.  Zhao Yunlei once again displayed her superiority in front of the net, letting nothing get past her as the Chinese cruised to a 21-15, 21-12 win.

Tine to face her nemesis

The evening ladies’ singles semi-final was an all-Chinese affair, which pitted Wang Xin, the number 3 seed, against top seed Wang Yihan. It was a repeat of the Denmark Open final last month, where Wang Xin notched her first victory over the reigning World Champion. It was the same result this time, as Wang Xin beat Wang Yihan in 2 straight games 21-12, 21-18.

The top seed made lots of uncharacteristic errors in the first game and lost it 12-21. She got her act together again in the second game and just when it seemed that the match might go to a third, Wang Xin managed to catch up and won the 21-18 and she now enters the final to meet Tine Baun, against whom she has an incredible 8-0 record.

More titleholders fail to upset

Korea’s Jung Jae Sung / Lee Yong Dae will be the third non-Chinese pair to contest tomorrow’s final. The second seeds took just 23 minutes to beat their team-mates and defending champions Ko Sung Hyun / Yoo Yeon Seong 21-10, 21-9. The Koreans will be up against top seeds Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng, a pair whom they have beaten 3 consecutive times.

Chen Jin closes in

The second men’s singles semi-final was between Chinese team-mates Chen Jin and Chen Long. Chen Jin, who currently sits at number 5 in the world ranking, beat his younger team-mate in 2 straight games 21-14, 21-18. After the match, Chen Jin complained of the very windy conditions in the hall but maintained that he will try his best for his match tomorrow against Lin Dan.

Chen Jin, of course, is vying to be China’s third Olympian next summer, to achieve which he must join today’s and tomorrow’s opponents in the world’s top 4.  In fact, if one counts only points accumulated so far in the Olympic qualifying period, which began on May 1st of this year, it was Chen Jin’s win on Friday against Peter Gade that saw him inch past the Dane in the fourth spot.

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