SINGAPORE OPEN 2015 QF – Simon and Yihan on track to defend titles

Slowly but surely, Simon Santoso is inching closer to defending his title in Singapore. The 29-year-old Indonesian won his quarter-final match against Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, 21-10, 21-19, to once again book […]

Slowly but surely, Simon Santoso is inching closer to defending his title in Singapore. The 29-year-old Indonesian won his quarter-final match against Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, 21-10, 21-19, to once again book his spot in the semi-finals of 2015.

By Serla Rusli and Seria Rusli, Badzine Correspondents live from Singapore Indoor Stadium. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Simon (pictured) may have had to fight harder than the other semi-finalists, but he fought his battle well. Reaching the semi-finals has not been an easy feat for him. It came down to a lot of preparations by studying his opponents well and prepared well for his matches.

“I know that Tanongsak is really good with his footwork, so I tried not to give him a chance to play his strength in the match. That worked very well in the first game,” said Simon.

However, the determined Thai was not about to let him get the semi-finals spot without putting up a good fight. The current world #19 managed to gain 6 points in a row and narrow a 14-6 gap to 14-12.

“I did lose focus a little bit in the middle of the game, and Tanongsak took the opportunity to change his game. He tried to be more patient and many times I fell into his tactic, which was why he could gain many points subsequently.”

As Simon has mentioned time and again during the tournament, his key to winning his games is patience: “It was very difficult for me to get back into my game again, but I tried to be patient and concentrated on winning each point. The second game was definitely much more difficult than what I had expected.”

Despite the Thai’s promising comeback in the second game, he was unable to push Simon to a third game for a chance to appear in his first semi-finals since Denmark Open 2013.

For Simon, this would be his best achievement in the international circuit since the Australian Open in June last year, where he reached the finals and was beaten by the legendary Lin Dan.

Santoso’s semi-final opponent will be Kento Momota, who received a free semi-final ticket today after Prannoy H. S. withdrew from the match due to the injury he sustained from playing against Jan O. Jorgensen the day before.

“Momota is certainly one of the better Japanese players, and it will definitely not be easy to play against him. Now that I have reached the semi-finals, I will definitely just play all out and give it my best to win the match,” commented Simon on his world #10 Japanese opponent who is 9 years his junior.

The other half of the draw will see the clash between Hu Yun and Parupalli Kashyap (pictured). Hu Yun once again proved his worth in the face of the formidable Great Wall of China. After beating Chen Long and creating one of the biggest upsets in the tournament yesterday, Hu eliminated his Chinese quarter-final opponent Tian Houwei, 17-21, 21-18, 21-10, to book his Superseries semi-final spot.  He is looking to reach his third career Superseries final and his first title at this level.

Parupalli also charged on, entering the semi-finals convincingly by defeating Brice Leverdez from France, 21-6, 21-17. One more victory would result in Parupalli’s second Superseries final after the Denmark Open 2014.

Tai Tzu Ying singles herself out

Tai Tzu Ying became the only non-Chinese player who managed to wiggle her way in to the women’s singles semi-finals of the 2015 Singapore Open. She breezed through her quarter-final match against Indonesia’s Maria Febe Kusumastuti, 21-10, 21-14, in 29 minutes.

The Chinese Taipei shuttler, who is known to often stir trouble in the Chinese women’s singles domination, will face the two-time Singapore Open champion Wang Yihan (pictured). Wang entered the semi-finals after beating another determined shuttler, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, 10-21, 21-19, 21-12.

“In the first game, I felt Wang Yihan was nervous but in the second game, I wanted to win too much. I tried my best when she was leading, so I was able to catch up. However, I think I am still not prepared mentally to be able to win against Wang Yihan,” commented the disappointed Ratchanok, who was hoping to finally to record her first win against Wang Yihan in their ninth encounter.

“I made a lot of unforced errors in the first game because of the wind direction. I tried to reset myself in the second game to gain confidence. I didn’t expect her to catch up again after I was leading 15-10, but she did it. That put me under a lot of pressure, but I’m happy that I was able to eventually win the second game and win the match,” reflected Wang Yihan.

Fighting for another spot in the final will be Wang Shixian and Sun Yu (pictured). Both Wang and Sun faced considerable difficulty from their Japanese opponents.

Nineteen-year-old Nozomi Okuhara once again performed brilliantly against her opponent. Unfortunately, this time the Chinese attacks proved to be too strong to contain and she had to give up the semi-finals spot.

Second seed Wang Shixian has finally managed to avenge her China Open defeat to Akane Yamaguchi. This time, the Chinese reigned supreme after 59 minutes, 21-18, 21-18.

For full quarter-final results click here

About Serla Rusli