ASIAN CHAMPS 2013 SF – Double title shot for Ko

Ko Sung Hyun opened up double chances of winning the Badminton Asia Championships title for himself by getting through to both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles finals in Taipei. […]

Ko Sung Hyun opened up double chances of winning the title for himself by getting through to both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles finals in Taipei.

By Lee Zhi Jun, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

With 4 top seeds and 3 second seeds in the finals of the 2013 Badminton Asia Championship event, there are bound to be entertaining matches on Sunday in Taiwan. All eyes will be on Ko Sung Hyun (pictured left with men’s doubles partner Lee Yong Dae) after he stormed his way into two finals. He seems to have lady luck smiling on his side when it comes to Taipei.  On his last visit, he picked up the Chinese Taipei Open title with a brand new mixed doubles partner.

In fact, Ko also has a great track record with new partnerships, as three times he has reached a final event in his first tournament with a new partner.  This is not quite the case with Ko and Kim Ha Na, who did play two events together in the summer of 2011, but it is not only Ko and Kim’s first tournament in nearly two years but it has also been over a year since Kim Ha Na has competed in mixed doubles at all.

While it was a relatively easy win for Ko and his mixed doubles partner Kim Ha Na over the fifth seeded Indonesian pair of Fran Kurniawan/Shendy Puspa Irawati, it might be an uphill battle in the finals when they face the defending champions Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (photo), who beat the Hong Kong pair of Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah 21-16, 21-11.

Ko’s chances are probably higher in the men’s doubles as he and Lee Yong Dae are the top seeds for this discipline. After ending the fine run of the Malaysian pair Goh V Shem / Lim Khim Wah, they will face their own countrymen, defending champions Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang, who fought well to defeat the second seeds from Japan Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa 19-21, 21-13, 21-14.  That semi-final was not only a repeat of the 2012 final, but it gave Kim/Kim the opportunity to exact payback for the loss they suffered at the All England at the hands of the Japanese pair.

Triple titles for China

China is guaranteed the other three titles as there will be an all-China affairs in the men’s and women’s singles as well as the women’s doubles events. In the men’s and women’s singles, it will be a face-off between the top 2 seeds. China’s Chen Long won in straight games against Malaysian Chong Wei Feng 21-17, 21-15 and might be at a disadvantage in terms of saved energy as his opponent in the finals, Du Pengyu got a pass from their compatriot Wang Zhengming, who retired halfway through the second game after losing the first game. Wang had benefited from a walkover the previous day from Lin Dan, who cited an arm injury to walk off the stage.

Defending champion Li Xuerui had to fight off a tough challenge from her Japanese opponent, Sayaka Takahashi (photo). After winning the first game, 21-18, she narrowly lost the 2nd game 18-21 but then got herself together to win the 3rd game easily 21-12.  In the final, she will play against her compatriot Wang Yihan, who easily brushed off another Japanese Eriko Hirose in straight games.

In the women’s doubles, top seed Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang will meet seconds seeds Ma Jin / Tang Jinhua. Both pairs had relatively easy wins, beating their unseeded semi-finals opponents from Korea and Indonesia respectively in straight games.

Finals line-up
MD: Ko Sung Hyun / Lee Yong Dae (KOR) [1] vs. Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang (KOR) [3]
WS: Li Xuerui (CHN) [1] vs. Wang Yihan (CHN) [2]
WD: Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (CHN) [1] vs. Ma Jin / Tang Jinhua (CHN) [5]
MS: Chen Long (CHN) [1] vs. Du Pengyu (CHN) [2]
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [2] vs. Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR)

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Zhi Jun Lee