ALL ENGLAND 2013 QF – Lee Chong Wei fights another day

Seeds Lee Chong Wei, Tine Baun and Ahmad/Natsir remained to increasingly stand as favourites for the tournament in which many others have fallen. By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from […]

Seeds Lee Chong Wei, Tine Baun and Ahmad/Natsir remained to increasingly stand as favourites for the tournament in which many others have fallen.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from Birmingham.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live).

Lee Chong Wei (pictured left) began to dismiss any misgivings he may have had from the hard matches faced earlier in the tournament, as he simply outclassed and out-powered Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam.

A battling player, Nguyen has often fallen short against the powerful players that dominate the top of the game and could be forgiven for not holding out much hope in this match, as he had won only one of his previous ten encounters against Lee Chong Wei, back in 2009 at the Aviva Singapore event.

Nguyen attributed himself well on court, playing long rallies and manoeuvring Lee around the court, capitalising on a series of unforced errors from Lee and having particular success with cross court smashes to the Malaysian’s backhand. Ultimately this was not enough however, as Lee had his Vietnamese opponent ducking for cover, smashing to win the first game 21-17.

The second saw Lee trail Nguyen for much of the game, but the Malysian did not panic playing a solid defence to retake the lead. Nguyen had an incredible run to save 4 match points, but the best rally of the match saw Lee Chong Wei smash through to win 21-19.

Lee Chong Wei spoke after the match, “After all the other matches with the Malaysians going out, I really wanted to win the quarter-finals today. I was a little bit disappointed at the end because I took it easy and made some silly mistakes. I will forget about it, there are two more days, the semi-finals and the final and I wish to do well.”

Lee faces qualifier Saensomboonsuk in the next round, and said of him: “My next opponent is a very dangerous opponent because he came from qualifying right through to the semi-finals, it is important not to underestimate him. I will be mentally ready for him. The Thai player [Saensomboonsuk] is a very attacking player so I will have to prepare and be ready for this.”

He joined some increasingly rare seeds left in the tournament, including one of the last European players left in the tournament, Tine Baun of Denmark.

Tine Baun (pictured right), continuing from her victory over Han Li, again exhibited a masterful display of strokes to dispatch Lindaweni Fanetri 21-7 21-13.

The Dane seemed surprised with the nature of her victory, saying: “I wasn’t expecting such an easy game today she [Fanetri] did well in her last game and I think she can play much better than that. I was willing to work hard for the victory today and it was clear my opponent was a little nervous and not that confident, I had a good beginning and I took an attacking game from there and I played really well.”

Commenting on the support in her final tournament, “The support is fantastic and I enjoy every moment of it, I feel so happy that I am ending my career in this way and here at the , my favourite tournament.”

Defending mixed champions Tantowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir (pictured left with Poles Mateusiak / Zieba) suffered a scare against Poles Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba, as the Polish took the first game and pushed them hard in the third. Ultimately it was nerves that cost the Poles a famous victory, as the game finished 12-21 21-14 21-18.

Robert Mateusiak said of the match, “I don’t really know what happened, we just lost our focus that we had in the beginning. We made too many easy mistakes in the last game and then we started to play but it was a little bit too late. We were a little bit nervous actually and we played too defensively. We did not have a problem with the smash because we defended well, but we found it difficult to change from defence to attack.”

Speaking of the crowd, he said: “Not many Europeans play the quarter-finals here, in mixed doubles it was just us so it was great to have their support. It’s a shame we lost. Maybe next time.”

Nadiezda Zieba also spoke fondly of a vocal crowd at this year’s Yonex All England: “We now have a break for two weeks and then we will play the Polish Open. It really helped having the crowd on our side.”

The full results for the day can be found here.

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About Michael Burke