SWISS OPEN 2012 SF – Another final for Tontowi and Lilyana

All ten semi-final matches at the 2012 Yonex Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold were played on the single central court with special on-court lighting.   The hall was almost full of […]

All ten semi-final matches at the 2012 Yonex Gold were played on the single central court with special on-court lighting.   The hall was almost full of spectators waiting for excellent badminton.

By Michaela Bencova, live from Basel.   Photos: Sven Heise (live)

The second match of the afternoon’s programme was men’s singles, between 5th-seeded Korean Lee Hyun Il and Chinese #2 seed Chen Long.  Spectators were enjoying the long rallies and very nice net shots but neither player looked like he really wanted to finish the rally.

Lee Hyun Il is having a great tournament.  He is now all the way into the finals and he hasn’t lost even one game and in 4 matches he has spent exactly 133 minutes on court. Chen Long, too, has played only four 2-game matches totalling 172 minutes.  Was Chen Long really so tired to lose in straight 2 games 21-14, 21-19 (when he was the winner in his four previous matches with Lee Hyun Il) or was it the way to avoid the all-China final in next round? This question will never be answered.

Lee Hyun Il’s opponent in the final will be Chen Jin.  Chen refused to bow to Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat (pictured) two weeks in a row and instead made it through in straight games.  Chen is only 3-2 against Lee since the latter’s return from post-Beijing retirement, having lost recently when the Korean was playing on home ground in Hwasun.

The match of the day was definitely the mixed doubles contest between Chris Adcock / Imogen Bankier and Tontowi Ahmad (pictured top) and Lilyana Natsir.  Lilyana and Tontowi, of course, were stopped in the semi-finals last year in Basel by another British pair;  however, this year, at the first game interval at 11-3, it looked like it would be an uneventful, easy match for the Indonesians.  The British pair was probably very nervous.  They were stiff, they couldn’t move, they didn’t know what to play, they couldn’t react, and they made a lot of unforced errors.

However, after the interval, they woke up and they showed us the best badminton of the day, with great shots, unbelievable defence on both sides, and unexpected dives.  At the end of the match it was the Indonesians who would leave the court the happier pair.  But the crowd was very pleased with the match and we could hear it in the applause.

In the women’s singles, Saina Nehwal (pictured) from India was the chief on court.  Japan’s Mitani Minatsu was doing her best but the Indian girl had the whole match under control and let her opponent lead only for a short time in the second game.  After the match, it was double celebration in the Indian team because Saina also had a birthday cake ready.  So happy birthday, Saina, also from the Badzine team.

In the final, Saina will play China’s Wang Shixian for the first time since her Hong Kong Open win in late 2010.

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