SS FINALS 2015 Day 2 – Saina’s sweet revenge

Perhaps no one bet on Saina today after her severe defeat against Japan’s Okuhara at the Superseries Finals on Wednesday, but the Indian star channelled her inner strength and blew […]

Perhaps no one bet on Saina today after her severe defeat against Japan’s Okuhara at the on Wednesday, but the Indian star channelled her inner strength and blew away the existing pressure to pull out a sensational win over World Champion Carolina Marin. Identically, Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei corrected their surprising loss yesterday with an efficient straight-game victory over England’s Chris and Gabrielle Adcock.

By Tarek Hafi.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Their paths last crossed in the final of the World Championships, where Saina Nehwal (pictured) was close to creating history for her country but found in her opponent, Carolina Marin, an unreachable hurdle.

On Thursday in Dubai, the Indian superstar stepped on the court with light shoulders, not expecting much, given her Achilles injury and a harsh loss in her very first match.

Despite the burdensome situation, Saina Nehwal, topped her encounter against the world #1, voicing her will to win after every rally.  She had no choice but to reach the full distance to triumph, 23-21, 9-21, 21-12.  The win consequently keeps Nehwal in the competition, with only one vacant place remaining for the quarters after Nozomi Okuhara grabbed the top stop of the their group and can finish no lower than second.

The most successful badminton couple of all time, Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, corrected all the flaws they had shown the previous day, bouncing back and gaining many valuable points against England’s loveliest couple Chris and Gabrielle Adcock, chalking up a straight-game win 21-17, 21-18. The world #1s are now given no choice but to win against world #2 Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad but if they do, they are guaranteed of being second even if there is a three-way tie atop their group, of which the surprise winner is guaranteed to be the undefeated pair Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah of Hong Kong.

Asian Games winners Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Mehaswari, repeated their 2014 win against China’s women’s double wonders, Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing (pictured) after a marathon match of one hour and thirty minutes. The four players used devastating tactics to close every rally, but eventually led to some extremely long exchanges; thus, high mental pressure marked the encounter.

Still, the Indonesians proved once more they have probably reached the apex of their form, now able to beat anyone on their road.  The two great friends, showed wonderful chemistry to enhance their semi-final chances in Dubai, winning 21-17, 14-21, 21-16 and remaining undefeated but still not clinching a spot in the final four.

Denmark’s intellect Viktor Axelsen (pictured), scored another superb win against none other than Kidambi Srikanth the most efficient way. The multilingual player used every tool to suffocate his opponent and conclude this encounter as fast as possible, winning 21-13, 21-18, and allowing him to join his compatriot Jan O. Jorgensen in a men’s singles semi-final round whose four participants have already been decided, two days before they begin on Saturday.

Every competition happens to now be similar for Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured), as the Koreans are completely dominating their category, leaving only devastated opponents after neither the world #4 nor the world #2 could find a reliable solution to counter the Koreans, who seem perfect in every part of their game. On Thursday, Lee and Yoo humbled the reigning World Champions, beating them in just two games, while the defending champions remained very consistent and coherent from the beginning to the very end.

This allows the Korean stars to get an early glimpse of their semi-final spot for Saturday.  Meanwhile, Fu/Zhang and Ahsan/Setiawan will face off to decide who will take second place in men’s doubles Group A.  Group B has two undefeated pairs and Boe/Mogensen and Chai/Hong will meet on Friday to determine who will finish with the lead.

Known semi-finalists

Men’s singles: Chen Long, Kento Momota, Jan Jorgensen, Viktor Axelsen

Women’s singles: Wang Yihan, Nozomi Okuhara

Men’s doubles: Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong, Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen, Chai Biao / Hong Wei

Women’s doubles: Luo Ying / Luo Yu, Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi

Mixed doubles: Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah

Click here for complete Thursday results

About Tarek Hafi