MALAYSIA OPEN 2014 QF – So long, Chen Long

Chen Long finally fell off track from the tournament after struggling past the first two rounds. Kenichi Tago marched into his third Malaysia Open semi-final after toppling the second seed. […]

Chen Long finally fell off track from the tournament after struggling past the first two rounds. Kenichi Tago marched into his third semi-final after toppling the second seed. Meanwhile, Kento Momota put up an admirable performance to fight against Jan O. Jorgensen before finally ending his amazing run in Malaysia.

By Ooi Ee Lyn, Badzine Correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

The hour-long matches in the previous days may have turned out in Chen Long’s (pictured) favour, but unlike the qualifiers who merely came close to beating the world #2, Kenichi Tago (pictured below) trashed Chen Long and stopped the Chinese star from entering his third Malaysia Open semi-final while Tago bagged his entrance ticket to show up in the semi-finals of the event for the third time.

“We started playing against each other since the World Junior Championships, and I think our relationship is quite good,” said Chen Long, who expressed that the main reason for his loss was because he hasn’t been feeling well due to the change of climate.

Tago, who indicated that he was aware that Chen Long did not seem well during the match against him, had stood up from his seat at the press conference and told local media to allow his opponent to speak first. After sharing a friendly handshake after Chen’s interview, Tago said, “Obviously Chen Long was not at 100%. If we were both at 100%, I am not confident that I would win. Since he wasn’t at his best, I could try my best to play my 100%. That’s the only chance I have to beat him.”

Tago will play against Tommy Sugiarto, who easily took two games from Srikanth K. of India.

Glorious end for Momota

After defeating Viktor Axelsen and Boonsak Ponsana, and claiming that it was nothing but luck that has allowed him to enter the quarter-finals in Malaysia, Kento Momota finally showed local spectators what he has got through his match against Jan O. Jorgensen (pictured), albeit losing the match in the end.  The Japanese youngster saved several game points in both games before finally losing it to his own mistakes and letting the match slip away 22-24, 20-22 to Jorgensen.

Post-match, Momota said, “[I lost, but] I managed to show my skills today. I wasn’t nervous, because I was just a challenger trying to do my best. I think the reason why I couldn’t just win the games during the crucial moments was because I lack experience.”

“He’s a very talented boy. He made very good shots in an attacking game, but he made a lot of mistakes,” commented Jorgensen on his 19-year-old opponent.

The Dane, who will be facing local hero Dato Lee Chong Wei in the semi-finals, playfully said, “To be honest, I feel like swearing, but I will not do that. I’m really tired of losing to Lee Chong Wei. I will make some special effort to give him a good fight tomorrow. I know Chong Wei is a good ambassador [of the sport], a good guy and a supreme player who goes out to win five or six titles every year, but I will go back today, have a rest, and I will come back and give him a good game tomorrow. Hopefully I will be able to catch him when he’s not playing at his best.”

Earlier in the evening, Angga Pratama / Ryan Agung Saputra (pictured) took Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong in straight games, and they now look forward to beat Malaysia’s second hope, Lim Khim Wah / Goh V Shem on Saturday in order to star in their first Superseries final since April 2011.

Bae Yeon Joo, who was also a runner-up at the 2007 World Junior Championships, like Tago, defeated 2013 World Junior Champion Akane Yamaguchi in straight sets. Bae will meet Wang Shixian in the semi-finals as the only non-Chinese competitor among Wang, Li Xuerui and 2013 Malaysia Open runner-up Yao Xue. In order to get past this hurdle, the Korean will have to strive for her first victory over Wang Shixian ever since the last time she beat Wang at the World Junior Championships six years ago.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

About Ee-Lyn Ooi