SUDIRMAN CUP 2013 SF – China past Denmark to reach 10th straight final

China notched a 3-1 victory over Denmark to reach their 10th straight Sudirman Cup final, where they will face Korea for the 4th time. By Mior Muzaffar Mior Dahalan, Badzine […]

China notched a 3-1 victory over Denmark to reach their 10th straight final, where they will face Korea for the 4th time.

By Mior Muzaffar Mior Dahalan, Badzine Correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The 2nd semi-final of the 2013 Sudirman Cup was a rematch of the final of the last Sudirman Cup, in 2011, and saw the defending champion China take on Denmark.  The Putra National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur saw one of its biggest crowds in this tournament.  With both teams have even numbers of supporters to push them to get to the final to face Korea, who won in the 1st semi-final earlier in the day.

In the 1st match, the mixed doubles, it was between the world #3 from China, Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (pictured) and the world #4 Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen.  The head-to-head record between these two pair is 6-5 in favour of the Danish pair, but in this match, the Chinese really showed their mettle and destroyed Denmark’s hope of getting the first point as the Chinese pair won their match with a 21-15, 21-12 score line.

“It wasn’t our best game, the Chinese played better than us,” admitted Christinna Pedersen afterwards.  “We were too much in defense but overall they were stronger and faster. ”

“They controlled the front court better than us so I think we lost the game tactically in that area,” added Joachim Fischer Nielsen.

Even the Chinese pair admitted they were quite nervous in the match: “Although we had prepared well for this match, we were still nervous but at the end we were determined to win it,” said Zhao Yunlei.

“I was quite unhappy with several calls by the line judges in this match.  I hope they will use the hawkeye technology as soon as possible to rectify this problem,” added Zhang Nan.

Now trailing China 0-1, Denmark looked to world #7 Jan O Jorgensen to beat his bogeyman, world #2 from China, Chen Long (pictured).  Jan O Jorgensen came into the match as one of only 3 top ten players never to have beaten Chen Long whilst losing 4 times since their first meeting at the 2010 All England.

Unfortunately for Jorgensen, Chen Long was again very consistent and polished in his game, thus condemning Jorgensen to his 5th loss to the current No.1 Chinese player.  Chen Long superbly won this match 21-16, 21-16 and confirming his status as the future leading player in the world of badminton.

“We needed to win the first two matches if we were to advance to the final, now, it’ll be very hard,” admitted Jorgensen after the match.  “Now, we must concentrate on the men’s doubles as our doubles want to confirm their status the no.1 pair in the world, and it’ll be a great match to watch as a repeat of last Olympic men’s doubles final.

“We called them the machine,” Jorgensen said, referring to the Chinese team.  “It is amazing to see this country keep on producing world class players year after year, but I think this is due to the amazing culture of the Chinese that is based on sheer determination and hard work.”

“I think I prepared well although it was a tough match, which is quite similar when I narrowly beat Jorgensen at the last All England,” said Chen Long.  “I made a few mistakes in the 2nd game but that was normal and I have to adapt to the condition of draft in the hall as well.”

With the tie now tilting 2-0 towards the Chinese team, centre stage was taken by the men’s doubles match-up between the 2012 Olympic gold and silver medallists Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng and Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (pictured) respectively.  It proved to be the most exciting match of the night, as both pairs showcased their full arrays of attacking prowess and supporters from both side certainly enjoyed the match that was on display.

In the first game, the Danish were relentless with their attacks and they were always 4 or 5 points ahead of the Chinese thus winning the first game 21-16.  The 2nd game was a closer affair with Chinese starting to show their old fiery form, but it wasn’t enough at the end and the Danish finished the job by beating the Chinese pair 21-17 in the second game.

At the press conference, surprisingly, a relaxed Fu Haifeng explained, “It’s normal to lose, our coaches did warn us that we didn’t have the winning mentality during the match.”

“It is up to the coaches to decide whether to play us tomorrow, I thought we played well today even though we lost the match,” added Cai Yun.

When asked to sum up the match, Carsten Mogensen said, “We have a lot respect for our opponents and we had to play our best to win this match.  It is certainly tougher since we were 0-2 down overall”.

“We‘ve been struggling for form since the Olympics and the same goes to the Chinese pair, but overall this match is the perfect preparation for the coming World Championships for us,” added Mathias Boe.

Now, all Danish hopes were pinned on the shoulders of the 19-year-old newcomer Line Kjaersfeldt who, like Korea’s Lee Dong Keun who played earlier this afternoon, has neither reached the top 50 nor even played a Superseries outside her homeland.  Unlike the Korean, however, Kjaersfeldt’s task with no less than to cause an upset of the world’s women singles #1 Li Xuerui (pictured).  In the end, the Chinese ace made no mistakes in securing the 3rd point for China by defeating the Danish youngster 21-13, 21-9.

“I don’t think this is my best performance since that my opponent couldn’t push me harder to produce a good performance,” said Li Xuerui afterward. “This is our first meeting and I think there is big gap between the two of us.”

“The better team won today, their mixed doubles played extremely well and didn’t make any mistakes at all, but we felt we had a chance,” said Denmark’s head coach afterward.  “I hope their China’s domination wouldn’t last too long, but at the same time, other countries have to work hard to catch up.”

China head coach Li Yongbo was asked whether he will change his line-up for tomorrow’s final, and replied, “We still have time to assess Cai/Fu’s performance to decide whether they will be playing or not. We didn’t played the All England champion Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan for men’s doubles because they are still young and they might not be able to handle the pressure.

“We will always send our best team depending on the opponent, and China is very lucky that we have a lot of good players.  So whoever is playing, they will be ready.”

Sudirman Cup Semi-final 2 resultChina 3, Denmark 1
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) beat Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) 21-15, 21-12
MS: Chen Long (CHN) beat Jan O Jorgensen (DEN) 21-16, 21-16
MD: Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng (CHN) lost to Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN) 16-21, 17-21
WS: Li Xuerui (CHN) beat Line Kjaersfeldt (DEN) 21-13 21-9
WD: Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (CHN) vs. Kamilla Rytter Juhl / Christinna Pedersen (DEN)   (not played)

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Mior Muzaffar Dahalan