INDIA OPEN 2013 SF – Hat-trick title shot for Indonesian pair

Indonesia’s top mixed doubles pair, Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir, stepped into the finals of the 2013 Yonex  Sunrise India Open Superseries at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium, New Delhi. […]

Indonesia’s top mixed doubles pair, Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir, stepped into the finals of the 2013 Yonex  Sunrise at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium, New Delhi. The top seeds won their semi-final on Saturday easily, and will aim to avoid becoming the 4th top ten pair to fall to the Asian Champions from Korea.

By Altania Cut Wigri, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

World #2 Ahmad/Natsir (pictured)made a real statement to begin the afternoon’s play on the TV court on Saturday.  They were able to read the Polish pair’s shots and returns, and with Natsir particularly dominating the net, the Polish pair were forced to lift, with Ahmad replying with predictably hard smashes. The Poles were left behind and faltered under the constant pressure to fight back.

This easy victory for Ahmad/Natsir means they are now set to take the hat-trick, as the Indonesian pair have held the India Open title since 2011. The final on Sunday will see Ahmad/Natsir take on the Korean pair of Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na, who reached the final after beating the eighth-seeded English pair of Chris Adcock / Gabrielle White in three games, 21-14 12-21 21-17.

Kim Ha Na (pictured right) will actually be attempting to help Ko Sung Hyun take two titles for a second week in a row.  Ko reached the men’s doubles final last year in India, only to finish just short of the title, while his mixed doubles run, with then partner Eom Hye Won, was stopped in the first round by none other than Ahmad and Natsir.  Ko and Lee Yong Dae eased past  their compatriots Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang 21-11, 21-13 to earn a shot at the men’s doubles title.

The big story in men’s doubles, though, was 2013 All England Champions Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan from China managing to get to their third final of the year with a victory over in-form pair Angga Pratama / Ryan Agung Saputra 22-20, 21-19.

In this 40-minute duel, the 2011 runners-up from Indonesia showed their persistence as the recovered from behind as the fiercly fought back from 0-5 down in the first game. Pratama/Saputra held the advantage when they led 19-17, but the Chinese pair chased this down to hold game point at 20-19. They were pushed to deuce points, but took the game 22-20.

In the second game, Pratama/Saputra again took a 19-17 lead, but the Chinese pair locked them out to take the final four points and win 21-19. They advance to the finals where they will meet the third seeds from South Korea.  Liu/Qiu were among the first to face the new world #3 pair, way back in the 2011 Canada Open final, and they scored their first win against Ko/Lee at this year’s German Open.

Speaking of Germany, in the women’s singles draw, second seed Juliane Schenk beat the unseeded Aprilia Yuswandari of Indonesia 21-18, 21-18 in 45 minutes to reach the final. Yuswandari made many unforced errors, not able to anticipate Schenk’s drop shots or play cross-court at the net.  Meanwhile, Schenk showed her solid defense, as she ran helter-skelter to chase the shuttle to secure her final ticket.

She will face the winner of a challenge match between the two highest-ranked juniors in the world.  Ratchanok Intanon (pictured) eased past the tall Indian P. V. Sindhu, much as she had done in their previous (and first) meeting back in the 2009, where her victory over Sindhu kicked off her first World Junior Championship run.

This time, with another shot at a first Superseries title in sight, it took just 31 minutes as Sindhu struggled against Intanon’s powerful and deceptive strokes and was dispatched in straight games, won 21-12 21-6 by the Thai.

World number 1 men’s singles shuttler Lee Chong Wei ran into some trouble against Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in the semi-finals, before easing through in the third game, the scoreline finishing 21-11 18-21 21-8.

The two-time Olympic Games silver medallist managed to reach his third final in as many years. He won the India Open in 2011 but failed to defend last year, losing to Korea’s Son Wan Ho in the final. Lee has the chance to regain this title however, and will play Kenichi Tago from Japan, who beat the host representative, Anand Pawar 21-16, 21-11 earlier on.

The women’s doubles final will be fought between second seeds Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark, who won easily over Korean pair, Jang Ye Na / Kim So Young, and the fourth-seeded Japanese pair of Miyuki Maeda / Satoko Suetsuna, who upset the top seeds Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi, also of Japan, 21-16, 21-14.

Complete results from Saturday’s semi-finals can be found here

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