CHINESE TAIPEI OPEN 2013 SF – Korean team-mates do battle

Powerhouse Korea was the dominant force at the Yonex Chinese Taipei Open as 4 all-Korean semi-final matches ensured the country of four slots in the finals, and helped set up […]

Powerhouse Korea was the dominant force at the Yonex as 4 all-Korean semi-final matches ensured the country of four slots in the finals, and helped set up two all-Korean finals.

By Chee Ying Fan, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

The semi-finals started with women’s doubles, where Korea’s two-time World Junior Champions Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan (pictured) beat Macau’s Wang Rong / Zhang Zhibo 21-13, 18-21, 21-16 to set up an all-Korean final with team-mates Jung Kyung Eun / Kim Ha Na.

The top-seeded Jung/Kim later on defeated team-mates Ko A Ra / Yoo Hae Won, 21-16, 21-17 in 37 minutes.  Sunday’s repeat of this year’s Swiss Open final will actually be the fifth time Jung/Kim have played compatriots in a major tournament final in just two years as a pair.

Indonesia’s Fran Kurniawan / Bona Septano who sprang a surprise when they eliminated top seeds Lee Yong Dae / Ko Sung Hyun in the quarter-finals, lost to local favourites, Lee Sheng Mu / Tsai Chia Hsin (pictured).  The Indonesian players seemed to be on their way to creating another upset when they won Game 2 but ran out of steam in the rubber game, allowing the Taiwan players to score consecutive 9 points to seal the match 22-20, 13-21, 21-9.

Meanwhile, in yet another inter-necine battle, 2nd seeds, Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang defeated 3rd seeds, Shin Baek Cheol / Yoo Yeon Seong 21-17, 21-16.  This will be Lee/Tsai’s first encounter with Korea’s #2 pair but they have already figured out how to beat the nation’s #1 and #3 duos.

In men’s singles, 18-year-old Wang Tzu Wei, who earlier disposed of 9th seed Lee Dong Keun, was defeated by Son Wan Ho.  The more experienced Son took only 34 minutes to beat Wang in a one-sided game, 21-13, 21-5.  However Wang Tzu Wei (pictured below) still managed to become only the third junior men’s singles player in the last 10 years to reach a semi-final in a major tournament.

Taiwan’s rising star, Hsu Jen Hao gave a good fight before losing to defending champion and World Championship bronze medallist Nguyen Tien Minh.  It was also a test of stamina as the two very patient players played long rallies in what was the longest match of the day, at 1 hour and 11 minutes.  Hsu was close to dragging Nguyen to a deciding game when he was leading 20-17 in the second.  However, the top seed managed to save 3 game points to force deuce.  Hsu saved a couple of match points of his own before his net return failed, giving victory to Nguyen.

It will be the repeat of the Universiade final in women’s singles as 2nd seed Tai Tzu Ying (pictured below) and top seed Sung Ji Hyun beat their respective opponents.  Home favourite and defending champion, Tai Tzu Ying provided the cheers for her fans in 3 exciting, close games, defeating Thai’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan, the silver medallist at both the Asian Youth Games and the Asian Junior Championships.

Tzu Ying lost the first game 17-21 but with the crowd’s support, she won the 2nd game, 21-15.  In the 3rd game, Tzu Ying was leading 19-17 but Busanan manage to level it at 19-all.  Tzu Ying displayed her deceptive shots to the crowd’s delight and eventually clinched the victory, 21-19 with a beautiful drop shot.

Lee Yong Dae with his new mixed doubles partner, Shin Seung Chan, failed to enter the finals as they were defeated by team-mates Yoo Yeon Seong / Eom Hye Won (pictured bottom), 12-21, 18-21.  Lee/Shin had earlier created a major upset when they packed off top seeds and world #6, Muhammad Rijal / Debby Susanto.

Korea is assured of the gold as the both matches in the mixed doubles on Saturday featured only Korean players.  The other finalists will be 3rd seeds Shin Baek Cheol / Jang Ye Na, who beat Universiade gold medallists Kim Ki Jung / Kim So Young in two games.

With the Koreans having representatives in all 5 categories in the finals, they hope to have a clean sweep of the titles, while local fans hope that their home players can create upsets and make their country proud.  With two defending champions and two home representatives in the other three finals, Korea could end up struggling to leave with more than just the two titles they have already clinched.

Finals line-up
XD: Shin Baek Cheol / Jang Ye Na (KOR) [3] vs. Yoo Yeon Seong / Eom Hye Won (KOR)
WS: Sung Ji Hyun (KOR) [1] vs. Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) [2]
MS: Nguyen Tien Minh (VIE) [1] vs. Son Wan Ho (KOR)
MD: Kim Ki Jung / Kim Sa Rang (KOR) [2] vs. Lee Sheng Mu / Tsai Chia Hsin (TPE) [4]
WD: Jung Kyung Eun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [1] vs. Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan (KOR) [2]

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Chee Ying Fan