SINGAPORE OPEN 2016 QF – Ka Long, not Long in the semis

Ng Ka Long started off quarter-finals day at the Singapore Open with a bang by beating men’s singles World Champion Chen Long, then watched his two successors to the same […]

Ng Ka Long started off quarter-finals day at the with a bang by beating men’s singles World Champion Chen Long, then watched his two successors to the same in men’s doubles.

By Seria Rusli, live in Singapore, and Don Hearn
Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long is the clear leader of a trio of experienced Hong Kong veterans all vying for spots in the Rio Olympics.  Ng himself only truly began to focus on singles after winning the boys’ doubles title at the World Junior Championships in 2012.

Today in Singapore, he once again justified his choice of discipline with a win over the current world #1 and entry into a second career semi-final.  But in fact, Ng was not the only boys’ doubles champion who beat a reigning World Champion in Singapore on Friday.  His successors, 2013 World Junior Champions Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen made even quicker work of two-time champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.

Chen Long built up a commanding, 11-3 lead early in the first game but soon went completely off the boil as Ng went on a 10-point run from which the world #1 never recovered.

“I feel it’s a bit of a pity as I was leading in the second game,” said Chen Long afterward.  “From 14-7, he turned the score around to 14-17. I thought I was going to win in the second set as I was so far ahead so I let my guard down a little and did not play as rigorously as yesterday.

“I played against him a long time ago and I think he played really well today. His play was coherent and his gestures were quick, especially in the first game.”

“I didn’t think the draught was too bad because I had already experienced it the previous two matches. Some mistakes were due to errors in my judgment. It was also my first time playing in court 1 today and I was not very accustomed to the lighting.

“I think it’s quite good as I progressed further than the last time I was here.  I think I did my best and I was fully prepared for the Singapore Open but I was not up to standards in the second game.”

“I think I made enough preparation for today.  I made use of my speed to fully attack the opponent,” said Ng Ka Long in his post-match interview.

“I was ready for the first game but at the same time, I kept my strategy and hoped to get back my feeling towards the end of the second so as to get a good start at the decider (if there was one) but yes, winning in two was beyond my expectation.  Even though I was losing early in the game, I was able to remain calm and did not panic. I’m also glad to be able to maintain the preparations I did and to play my strategies well.

“Of course we’re still fighting for the Olympic qualification so having won this match today, I feel more confident. In my sports career, being able to beat such a strong player, it’s a very memorable experience and I’m grateful for the support I received today.

When I found out yesterday that I’d be playing the world #1 today, I told myself to not think too much and just treat it as a good learning lesson.  My strategy was to quickly move him to the back of the court in my first shot and take advantage of the time to move the shot back to the front court.

“It’s rare for me to get into top 4 at a Superseries so I’m really quite glad. I think it’s still too early to say I’m going to win.  I will just take each round at a time.

Ng’s next opponent will be Korea’s Son Wan Ho.  Son scored a minor upset when he ousted 6th-seeded Tian Houwei in on of the longest matches of the day.

“The shuttles were a bit slow today so I was struggling at the beginning,” explained Son Wan Ho.  “Around the middle of the second game, I was able to settle into my game and I started to think I might be able to win it.

“I was feeling under pressure at the beginning but I tried to relax and play the game and I think that was what worked.  In tomorrow’s match, too, I think if I can relax and play my game, I will get the results.”

If the dumping of the men’s singles World Champion seemed rather unceremonious, the drubbing that men’s double champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan got was even more severe.  They were beaten in a pair of 21-11 games by Chinese 20-year-olds Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen.

“I think we played very well today,” said Liu after the match.  “We played against them previously in Malaysia and we lost so we went all out today. I feel our opponents were not in very good condition today.

“I think we put the score at the back of our mind and tried to focus on the play.  That allowed us to play bravely against them and achieved great effect.”

“We were fully prepared for today’s match,” added Li Junhui.  “I don’t think their chemistry was very good today. However, we always felt that the Indonesians have very good training strategies. To tackle this, we minimized standing front and back so they would focus on playing their shots to the sides, which proved to be an advantage to us.”

“We were not able to improve our game,” said Mohammad Ahsan, after losing the quarter-final. “We found our opponents were good in the attack. We could only gain very little control of the games and were under pressure in the beginning.

“Overall, the opponents played very well and we could not play our game very well and hence whatever we did was wrong. It is not about our stamina. We are definitely very disappointed about today’s match but we will practice again and for our Olympic target.”

Li/Liu would have expected to be playing their compatriots if the came through their quarter-final.  However, Malaysia Open runners-up Chai Biao and Hong Wei instead became the latest casualties of the still brilliant run by Japan’s Kamura/Sonoda.

Click here for complete quarter-final results


Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @