HONG KONG OPEN 2011 SF – Tine: “I feel good again”

Two all-Chinese finals were already guaranteed after the afternoon session on semi-finals day of the Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open Super Series– with Lin Dan punishing Lee Chong Wei, but […]

Two all-Chinese finals were already guaranteed after the afternoon session on semi-finals day of the Yonex Sunrise Super Series– with Lin Dan punishing Lee Chong Wei, but Denmark’s Tine Baun spoiled the Chinese party when she beat world number one Wang Shixian.

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

Tine Baun (photo) has had a string of disappointing results over the past few months. She last played in a final back in June, and was hoping for a breakthrough in Hong Kong. It was not going to be an easy task as she was up against top seed and last year’s runner-up Wang Shixian (photo).  Both players were faced with tricky conditions during the whole match, but it was the Dane who dealt with the drift better.

Tine’s constant attacking from the back-court and superior net control saw her winning  a quick first game 21-10. The Dane was actually leading 16-9 at one stage in the second game, but then allowed her opponent to crawl back and snatch it 21-19. But the tall Dane didn’t let that affect her, stuck to her game plan and took the 3rd game 21-13. 

“Even though she caught up in the second game, I was still confident in winning the 3rd set,” said Tine after her match.

Tine was delighted with this huge win and just wanted to savour it, especially after struggling with a few disappointing results lately.  “I really feel good to play like this again. I’ve been in and out of injuries, and reaching the final here is really special. I’ll think of the final tomorrow, but if you want my bet, I think Wang Xin will win,” she smiled.

Wang Xin will take on her compatriot Wang Yihan in the other final, but the Dane expects to play the left-hander, whom she has yet to beat.  This would be Tine’s best achievement as well in Hong Kong, as her best result was reaching the semi-final stage a few years ago.

Lin chops off another top seed

It was a bad day for the top seeds as Lin Dan (photo) sent Lee Chong Wei packing. Judging by the cheers that greeted both players as they entered the Coliseum, it was quite obvious that this was THE match that everyone had been expecting. World #1 and two-time defending champion, Datuk Lee Chong Wei was up against China’s Lin Dan, in what would be the pair’s 27th meeting overall.

Both players started the match brilliantly, but it was the Malaysian who led 11-7 at the first mid-game interval. Then, the Chinese somehow switched up a gear, started attacking more and won the first game 21-16. Both players kept everyone in the Coliseum entertained with their excellent display of shot-making, keeping shuttles that against perhaps any other opponents would have been winners in play and often drawing gasps of “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd.

The second game was also brilliantly played as both players were tied at 11-all after the mid-game interval, but any hopes of a rubber game were dashed as Lin Dan took the second 21-14, thus ending the Malaysian’s hopes of defending his title. After the match, Chong Wei stated that this was probably one of the worst matches he’d played against Lin Dan.  He refused to blame the minor change in schedule due to the men’s doubles walkover and would use it as a learning experience.

For Lin Dan, he blamed Chong Wei’s average performance on an overall tiredness among top players: “We play so many tournaments: Denmark, France, then here an exhibition match and now these two tournaments. It’s a lot to cope with for us. This might explain why we perform under par sometimes,” said the Chinese ace, who will meet either Chen Jin or Chen Long in Sunday’s final.

China rules

Earlier on, the semi-finals kicked-off with women’s doubles, which pitted Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl, the number 8 seeds, against China’s 2nd seeds Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (photo). The Chinese had no problem beating their opponents, and advanced to the finals in 2 straight games 21-18, 21-13.

This was supposed to be followed by an all-Chinese men’s doubles match between current World Champions Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng and unseeded compatriots Tao Jiaming / Zhang Nan. But in what seems to be quite the norm these days, the top seeds got a walkover from their team-mates and advanced to the finals tomorrow without having to lift their rackets. The announcement of this walkover drew boos from the crowd.

The last match of the afternoon session was between world number ones from China Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang against the Korean pair of Ha Jung Eun / Kim Min Jung. The top seeds were never really threatened throughout the match and advanced to tomorrow’s finals with a 21-18, 21-12 win, thus setting up an all-Chinese final in the women’s doubles tomorrow.

Full results HERE

Photo Gallery HERE

About Guest Contributor