DENMARK OPEN 2017 SF – Southpaws triumph in northern Superseries

Lefthanders Lee Hyun Il and Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet rose up to upset their favoured opponents in the semi-finals of the Denmark Open Superseries Premier. By Don […]

Lefthanders Lee Hyun Il and Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet rose up to upset their favoured opponents in the semi-finals of the Premier.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte / Badmintonphoto (live)

Odense is by far the most northern of the 12 stops on the BWF World Superseries but on Saturday, it was three southpaws creating the biggest upsets as Lee Hyun Il downed top-seeded Son Wan Ho and the double-leftie combination of Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet beat Olympic and World Champions Ahmad/Natsir.

If Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet (pictured top) had a good year last year, when they reached to Grand Prix Gold finals, this year is quickly turning into a great one.  After isolated victories against past and current world #1 pairs, they are on the verge of the best single result in their young partnership.

On Saturday in Odense, the Hong Kong pair kept the pressure on World Champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, coughing up too many high shuttles to the left side and their waiting forehands.  Unable to close the gap after trailing 12-19 in the second game, the Indonesians lost it in straight games.

Next up for the 8th seeds from Hong Kong is world #1 Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (pictured above).  The Chinese pair, who already suffered an upset to this duo at the Sudirman Cup last spring, is the last barrier to what will otherwise be Tang Chun Man’s career first Superseries title.  Tse won one in women’s doubles back in 2012.

Zheng/Chen beat another hot new pair, Malaysia’s Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai, in two games.  The Chinese pair have just two titles this year but are still the most firmly in position among all the five current world #1s.

Another record, but a title?

The ageless Lee Hyun Il (pictured left) has yet again broken his own record as the oldest singles finalist.  Last year, he was the only singles player over the age of 36 to reach a Superseries final when he was runner-up in Paris and this year, he is the first over 37.  For the Korean, though, winning the second Superseries title of his career, and his first in nearly 10 years, would no doubt be far more rewarding.

Lee beat his compatriot Son Wan Ho, who had beaten him four times in a row, including in two of the elder player’s 3 consecutive Superseries semi-finals last autumn.  Lee Hyun Il will now play Srikanth Kidambi, who will attempt to be the first man to win three Superseries singles titles in 2017 after denying Wong Wing Ki in the Hong Kong veteran’s 3rd Superseries semi-final appearance in the last 13 months.

In women’s singles, world #1 Tai Tzu Ying managed to eke out a win in the second game but Ratchanok Intanon (pictured) won the other two by convincing 21-14 scorelines.  The Thai’s only other Superseries final this year was at the All England, where she was in the reverse position, unable to convert two game points after dropping the first game.

Merely having beaten the top seed does not make Intanon’s job much easier, however, as she now faces Akane Yamaguchi, who has won her last two encounters with the Thai.  Yamaguchi was adrift in the first game of her semi-final against China’s Chen Yufei before winning in three.  Yamaguchi is looking for her first Superseries title since she won in Odense last year.

Korea’s Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan (pictured) started playing together in middle school but it was only after they had won a World Championship bronze together that they were separated and started reaching finals at the Superseries level.  This event marks the first time they’ve made it to a Superseries Sunday together and they did it by beating their respective former partners in the semi-finals.

Lee and Shin reunited temporarily in July to win the U.S. Open Grand Prix Gold but it was actually their opponents Chang Ye Na and Jung Kyung Eun who competed together more this year as they are on the same team for domestic tournaments, most recently just last week, where they lost to Lee So Hee in the final of their National Sports Festival.  The younger ladies dominated the first game but had to work harder for the win in the second before winning it in extra points.

Naoko Fukuman / Kurumi Yonao not only missed another opportunity to become the fourth Japanese pair this year to win a Superseries title but their loss virtually guaranteed that they will not be one of the two Japanese pairs at the Superseries Finals in Dubai.  Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto moved into 2nd place in the Superseries standings when they beat their compatriots.  They will soon be atop the table, passing Chang/Lee either Sunday, after winning the Denmark Open, or Wednesday, by showing up for their first round match in Paris.

The men’s doubles will be a contest between the world #1 pair and the World Champions.  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo saw off their compatriots Pratama/Suwardi while the last Danes in the competition, 2010 champions Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen, were unable to get the better of Liu Cheng / Zhang Nan.

Angga Pratama and Ricky Karada Suwardi (pictured bottom) pulled within two victories of Hendra Setiawan on the Superseries standings but they will be hard pressed to make up all the ground they need to to qualify for Dubai as they are sitting out next week’s French Open.

Finals line-up
WD:  Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto (JPN) [6] vs. Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan (KOR)
XD:  Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen (CHN) [1] vs. Tang Chun Man / Tse Ying Suet (HKG) [8]
WS:  Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) [4] vs. Ratchanok Intanon (THA)
MD:  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) [2] vs. Liu Cheng / Zhang Nan (CHN) [5]
MS:  Kidambi Srikanth (IND) [8] vs. Lee Hyun Il (KOR)

Click here for complete semi-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 @