CHINA OPEN 2014 SF – No women’s singles title for China

The finals line-up has now been decided.  After two forfeits and many gritty battles, the semi-finals of Thaihot China Open concluded with a new record: for the first time ever, […]

The finals line-up has now been decided.  After two forfeits and many gritty battles, the semi-finals of Thaihot concluded with a new record: for the first time ever, going back to the first in 1991, Chinese shuttlers are absent from the women’s singles final.

By Serla Rusli, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The women’s singles event has traditionally been a sure-fire win for the host in China Open.  With the exception of 2007 edition, when Wong Mew Choo beat Xie Xingfang in the women’s singles final, all past winners have been from the host team.  Today, sixth seed Saina Nehwal (pictured) knocked down the last layer of the Chinese wall as she beat the host country’s last hope Liu Xin in straight games 21-17, 21-17.

Akane Yamaguchi (pictured below) created her fourth upset in the tournament by beating the Korean fifth seed Bae Yeon Ju in the semi-finals.  After surrendering the first game fairly easily 21-10, Bae attempted to fight back in the second.  Although trailing very closely, the seemingly unstoppable Yamaguchi established her lead throughout the game.

Ironically it was Bae who clinched the game point first in second game, but she missed the chance to convert it into a third game.  Afterwards, it was a nerve-wracking battle which eventually went to the very much deserving 17-year-old from Japan, 25-23.  The impressive Yamaguchi is now definitely eyeing to bag her second title, after winning the Japan Open last year.

Dark horses Yoo Yeon Seong / Eom Hye Won(pictured) also continued their impressive streak in the tournament.  This time they beat yet another Chinese duo, China Masters champions Lu Kai / Huang Yaqiong, in straight games.

The Koreans will face their third and toughest Chinese opponents in the finals – world #1 and reigning world Champions Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei.  Zhang / Zhao came back from a narrow first game defeat to beat their teenaged compatriots, recent Bitburger Open winners Zheng Si Wei / Chen Qingchen, and claim their spot in the final.

Marc Zwiebler (pictured below) found his injury to be too much in the semi-finals and he had to retire from his match against Kidambi Srikanth halfway through the second game.

“Not much to say. I’m very sad my body didn’t recover in time,” wrote Zwiebler on his Facebook page.  “I really tried and would have wished to play a final against Lin Dan in China.

“I’m really gutted I had to slip this rare chance away!  I’ll try to recover and get in shape again for Hong Kong next week!”

Srikanth advanced to the finals, where he will face none other than Lin Dan.  The two met earlier this year at the Badminton Asia Championships in Korea, where Lin Dan eventually won.  The Chinese superstar, who beat Chinese Taipei Chou Tien Chen in the semi-finals, will certainly be eyeing to reclaim the title he has not returned to claim after 2011.

Lee Sheng Mu / Tsai Chia Hsin faced the same fate as Chou Tien Chen as they were beaten by the Chinese duo Chai Biao / Hong Wei.  Chai/Hong will face tournament favourites Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Song, who advanced to the finals after another forfeit.  This time, it was their compatriots Ko Sung Hyun / Shin Baek Cheol who were unable to complete the match and retired during the second game.

Lee Yong Dae is certainly a regular at winning titles in China Open – he has won 2 mixed doubles titles previously and he now has a shot at winning his fifth men’s doubles title there.

China is now assured of the women’s doubles title as second seeds Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (pictured) beat Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi 21-15, 21-16. Tian/Zhao will face Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang in the final.

Finals line-up
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [1] vs. Yoo Yeon Seong / Eom Hye Won (KOR)
WS: Saina Nehwal (IND) [6] vs. Akane Yamaguchi (JPN)
MS: Lin Dan (CHN) vs. K. Srikanth (IND)
WD: Tian Qing /Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [2] vs. Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang (CHN) [5]
MD: Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [1] vs. Chai Biao / Hong Wei (CHN) [8]

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Serla Rusli