HONG KONG OPEN 2014 QF – Superseries Finals qualifiers known

Akane Yamaguchi lost her battle but a loss by Minatsu Mitani means that the 17-year-old can finish her season in Dubai at the Superseries Finals. By Emzi Regala.  Photos: Badmintonphoto […]

Akane Yamaguchi lost her battle but a loss by Minatsu Mitani means that the 17-year-old can finish her season in Dubai at the .

By Emzi Regala.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Although 2012 World Junior Champion Nozomi Okuhara once again re-affirmed her superiority over her runner-up and two-time successor Akane Yamaguchi (pictured), compatriot Minatsu Mitani (pictured below) ran short of tactics to beat Liu Xin.  This paved the way for Yamaguchi to become the youngest player ever qualify for a Finals appearance.

Japan’s Okuhara faces reigning world champion from Spain Carolina Marin while Liu Xin will try to keep the Chinese flag flying as she faces the 6th seed from Chinese Taipei Tai Tzu Ying in the semi-finals.

The last two men who had an opportunity to sneak into the Superseries top 8 just under the wire were stopped on Friday in Hong Kong.  First, top seed Chen Long proved to be too great a wall to Takuma Ueda, dominating especially the second game.

Then Wang Zhengming (pictured bottom) tried to come from behind after giving away the first game but Jan Jorgensen had more than enough energy reserved to pull away in the final stretch of the match and take the decider 21-13.  This means that for a second year in a row, China will have a lone men’s singles representative in the Superseries Finals, with 2012 champion Chen Long taking over such duties from Wang, who was winless in the Finals last December.  Denmark is sending two men, as is Japan most likely, since #9 Tago Kenichi will probably have to go in place of suspended #2 Lee Chong Wei.

In women’s doubles, the Luo twins had to work extra hard to beat an experimental pairing of Bao Yixin / Wang Xiaoli.  The twins’ identical 21-19 straight games victory over Bao/Wang put them into the semi-finals but it was their first round win that had already earned them enough points to get ahead of Bao Yixin/Tang Jinhua and occupy the 5th spot as well as the 2nd ranked Chinese pair.  The other three semi-finalists – Japan’s Takahashi/Matsutomo, China’s Tian/Zhao and Indonesia’s Maheswari/Polii have already secured enough points for Dubai.

China’s Liu Xiaolong / Qui Zihan (pictured) and Indonesia’s Ahsan/Setiawan currently are currently neck-and-neck in the 4th and 5th spot in the Destination Dubai rankings.  The outcome of the Hong Kong Open may determine who ends up with a seeding in the season finale.

In the mixed doubles, Widianto/Dilii had the chance to move up and occupy the 8th and final spot, enlisting as one of the final 40 qualifiers for Dubai.  However, their loss to Lu/Huang of China leaves them just shy of Germany’s Fuchs/Michels.  Lu/Huang’s win placed them, along with compatriots Liu/Bao, ahead of the Germans but with two other Chinese pairs already at the top of the table, the four younger players will likely be the ones staying home.

Click here for complete quarter-final results

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