U.S. OPEN 2013 SF – Huang Yaqiong into two finals

19-year-old Huang Yaqiong of China made it two out of two in getting to both the mixed and women’s doubles finals on what was a great day for a young […]

19-year-old Huang Yaqiong of China made it two out of two in getting to both the mixed and women’s doubles finals on what was a great day for a young Chinese squad, but an ambivalent day for the tournament first seeds.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Don Hearn and Badmintonphoto (archives).

The semi-finals day at the Yonex Gold saw all five first seeds competing, with only three of those able to progress. Thai players Nichaon Jindapon and Boonsak Ponsana both fell the wrong side of 21-12 in the wrong game, with Yuka Kusunose of Japan and Wong Wing Ki the respective beneficiaries.

It was a good day for the young Chinese squad, one of their most solid performances came in the women’s doubles. Yu Xiaohan and Huang Yaqiong (pictured left) set the tone for their match as they took a run of 8 straight points to lead 10-1 in the first game. Never behind against Japanese pair Yuriko Miki / Koharu Yonemoto, they finished with a very healthy scoreline having won 21-12, 21-9.

This was Huang’s second match of the day as she played with Wang Yilu to fight a very close battle with the sole remaining Europeans in the event, Jacco Arends and Selena Piek of the Netherlands. Never separated by more than four points in the first two games, the pairs traded games with the slender leads of 21-17 and 20-22. Despite having looked to wrap it up with a 19-12 lead in the deciding game, the Dutch pair fought hard to drag it back, in the process saving three match points as the Chinese pair just held off to win 21-18.

Takeshi Kamura / Keigo Sonoda of Japan, Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah of Hong Kong, and China’s Bao Yixin / Zhong Qianxin – top seeds in men’s, mixed, and women’s doubles respectively – all did their seeding credit to pull through despite some tough games of badminton.

Vietnamese stalwart Nguyen Tien Minh (pictured right) cruised past Kento Momota after a slow start on his way to a 21-12, 21-8 victory, not looking troubled after he leveled out at 7-all in the first game having conceded the first four points without reply.

Sapsiree Taerattanachai (pictured left) was the only one of her Thai compatriots to make the finals, having to come from behind in her match as she trailed 4-11 and 13-17. However, she demonstrated her maturity to steal the first game, and pulled away in the second with a run of seven straight points to seal out the match 21-13.

The second longest match of the day was also one of the last as seventh seeded Chinese Taipei pair Liang Jui Wei and Liao Kuan Hao faced second seeds Maneepong Jongjit and Nipitphon Puangpuapech of Thailand.

Never behind in the first game, the Thai pair looked to be cruising as they took the first game to a health 21-15, but neither pair was able to get more than a point ahead in the second until 8-all, as the Taipei pair held their nerve to force the third by a margin of four points.

The Taipei pair led for much of the decider, but appeared to choke as Jongjit / Puangpuapech pulled it back to 17-all which progressed in one point intervals to 21-all. Liang and Liao were however to emerge victorious as they took the next two extra points to book their place in the final against the first seeds.

Finals line-up
WD: Bao Yixin / Zhong Qianxin (CHN) [1] vs. Huang Yaqiong / Yu Xiaohan (CHN)
MS: Nguyen Tien Minh (VIE) [3] vs. Wong Wing Ki (HKG) [4]
WS: Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA) [3] vs. Yuka Kusunose (JPN)
XD: Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah (HKG) [1] vs. Wang Yilu / Huang Yaqiong (CHN)
MD: Takeshi Kamura Keigo Sonoda (JPN) [1] vs. Liang Jui Wei / Liao Kuan Hao (TPE) [7]

Click here for complete semi-final results

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