KOREA GPG 2013 QF – Visitors place 1 of 4 in 4 of 5

Korea dominates the men’s doubles semi-finals of the Korea Grand Prix Gold, even without Lee Yong Dae, but one dangerous visitor still threatens to spoil the party in the four […]

Korea dominates the men’s doubles semi-finals of the Korea Gold, even without Lee Yong Dae, but one dangerous visitor still threatens to spoil the party in the four other events.

Story and photos: Don Hearn (live in Jeonju)

China’s Tian Houwei (pictured above) beat Malaysia’s Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin to earn a shot at 2011 champion and former world #1 Lee Hyun Il in the semi-finals of the Victor Korea Grand Prix Gold.  Iskandar managed to dispose of some well-performing young locals in the early rounds of the tournament but was unable to topple the man who had beaten him for the World Junior title four years ago, despite finally pushing Tian to three games.

Jeonju may be known for producing some of Korea’s top doubles stars for decades now but Lee Yong Dae gave local fans extra reason for disappointment when he withdrew from the tournament with a hip injury.  Both of Lee’s partners, Yoo Yeon Seong and Shin Seung Chan, went to high school here.  Lee and Shin lost at the first hurdle in mixed doubles while Shin’s women’s doubles partner Eom Hye Won retired from their first match with an injury.

Yoo Yeon Seong is still going in mixed doubles with Jang Ye Na.  He dealt a first defeat to Chinese Taipei’s Chen Hung Ling, who later failed in the men’s doubles, where he and Lu Chia Pin were already the last remaining overseas quarter-finalists.  They lost to Han To Sung / Kim Duck Young (pictured below), who along with their Saemaeul team-mate Lee Hyun Il, are the only remaining non-national team members.

China’s Huang Yaqiong was unable to repeat her two-final performance from the U.S. Open Grand Prix Gold.  She and Wang Yilu (pictured above), then later new women’s doubles partner Xia Huan (pictured below) ran up against stiff Korean opposition in the quarter-finals.

Huang Yaqiong’s oppressors included Kang Ji Wook / Choi Hye In (pictured above), who have themselves have specialized in some high profile runner-up finishes.

In the women’s doubles, it was Kazan Universiade gold medallists Jang Ye Na / Kim So Young (pictured) doing the honours.  In fact, the only Koreans to lose on quarter-finals day failed at the hands of their compatriots.

Korea’s national team singles players Hong Ji Hoon (pictured above left) and Sung Ji Hyun (pictured above right) experienced surprising quarter-final matches.  Hong had plenty of trouble with former junior doubles partner Han Ki Hoon before finishing it in three games.

Sung Ji Hyun, on the other hand, did not likely expect to be so little troubled by Indonesia Grand Prix Gold champion Suo Di (pictured below), with whom she had split their previous two matches.  Sung won comfortably in two games.

Indonesia was already assured of quarter-final representation but it was not to be Edi Subaktiar / Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja (pictured).  They lost out to last year’s semi-finalsists Irfan Fadhilah / Weni Anggraini in two games.  Irfan and Weni will next take on hometown favourite Yoo Yeon Seong and Jang Ye Na, the 2011 champions.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net