ALL ENGLAND 2015 QF – Sad end for Intanon

The match everybody wanted when they saw the list of entrants is upon us as Lin Dan set up a semi-final against Chen Long. Sun Yu also exacted another upset […]

The match everybody wanted when they saw the list of entrants is upon us as Lin Dan set up a semi-final against Chen Long. Sun Yu also exacted another upset as she upended Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, who left in a wheelchair.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from Birmingham.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte and Raphael Sachetat for Badmintonphoto (live).

Sun Yu (pictured left) continued her dominant run at the 2015 Yonex as she recovered from a slow start to beat Ratchanok Intanon, who left the field of play in a wheelchair 13-19 down in the third game.

Intanon had started brightly, quickly taking the first game from her Chinese opponent, but Sun’s attritional play left Intanon frequently on the floor.

After her second big victory in a row, Sun Yu said, “I’m really happy to qualify for my first semi-final, it really proves my winter training was a success.”

“It was a tough game. I felt good at the beginning of the first game but she changed the pace which made me make more mistakes and I lost my confidence. I focussed after that on playing to her backhand and the overhead shots and that gave me a lot more freedom.”

Matches involving Lin Dan (pictured right) always begin with much hype, but he returned the desired result for China as he beat Momota of Japan in two.

In the first game against Kento Momota he looked to be a step slower, for all his grace and skill he had to grind out the game but he started the second with a more familiar exhibition of his prowess racing to an early six point lead, but again the errors crept in and Momota came back to keep it close.

“In the first game he [Momota] played really quick and I just tried to prevent further attack. In the second game, I could win points more easily, but I won them too easily and lost my focus,” Lin Dan said afterward.

“I am really happy with the way I played, even though he came back at me because I was calm and controlled under pressure and adjusted my mentality.”

A sterner test remains tomorrow however as Chen Long (pictured left) closed out the top half of the draw for China, beating Chou Tien Chen of Taipei in two quick games.

Despite Lin Dan having a 7-0 head-to-head record, Chen has prospered in his absence and has shown none of the signs of rustiness his more accomplished compatriot has this week but he is happy to have his old rival back.

“[Lin Dan’s return] has definitely helped. Before he came back, there was massive pressure, any big event I was always China’s number one and that’s enormous.”

“I played alright and kept everything under control. I’ve played him a few times before so it’s nothing new for me. It’s my first real tournament as world number one and the competition has been really high so I just have to keep it up.”

Saina Nehwal (pictured right) continued her comfortable run in Birmingham at the expense of team China, by beating Wang Yihan for only the second time in ten attempts.

“It was a good day because my strokes were well, but maybe she was tired as she has played two long matches already. Sometimes it is just your day,” said Saina after the match.

She continued, “Each tournament is a new tournament and every match is a new match, but it is certainly a big year because of the Olympics. I just want to stay fit and give a good fight to the top players to see where I am.”

The full results for the day can be found here.

About Michael Burke