ALL ENGLAND 2018 SF – A long day to the finals

Defending champions Marcus / Kevin strut into the finals of Yonex All England 2018. In a repeat of last year’s semi-finals, they beat Danish duo Mads Conrad-Petersen / Mads Pieler […]

Defending champions Marcus / Kevin strut into the finals of Yonex 2018. In a repeat of last year’s semi-finals, they beat Danish duo Mads Conrad-Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding, 21-11, 21-19.

By Serla Rusli and Tarek Hafi. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The Indonesians stepped on their pedal right at the start, giving no opportunity for the towering Danes to even get in to the game. After the quick 21-11, the second game was off to a rocky start when the umpire called a controversial foul on Sukamuljo at 4-3.

In the second game we were a little troubled when my shot was called as a foul,” said Sukamuljo. “The shuttlecock was really far from my racket, it didn’t even touch or move a single bit. But the umpire said it was a foul.”

“It was really strange. We were shaken a little bit, but we managed to get back to our form,” said Gideon.

After trailing behind 11-7, the world #1 picked up their rhythm and shot through the scores to eventually clinch the match 21-19.

They were smarter than us and better than us so that’s the reason why they beat us. I think they outplayed us in the second set, it was 21-19, which is a very tight match,” said Kolding.

Gideon / Sukamuljo will face another Danish rivals and second seeds Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (pictured). They beat Hiroyuki Endo / Yuta Watanabe of Japan in the semi-finals, 21-17, 21-17.

Another Danish flag flying

Third seeds Kamilla Rytter Juhl / Christinna Pedersen entered their second consecutive All England finals after beating Japanese Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara, 21-15, 22-20.

“It was a tough match, but it was not really a physical match today,” said Juhl. “The Japanese were nervous today, because it was their first time in the Semi Final at the All England. We took advantage of that and played on court at a high level.”

Juhl / Pedersen is eyeing the title after having to settle for silver last year. They will have to overcome Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota, who battled through to the finals after beating compatriots Shiho Tanaka / Koharu Yonemoto, 16-21, 21-10, 21-12.

Mixed feelings for Yuta Watanabe

Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino took it a step higher in the 2018 Yonex All England Championships edition. Following their last year semi-final misadventure, the Japanese duo impressed the English crowd with their impeccable performance over the Chinese pair of Zhang Nan / Li Yinhui.

The two youngsters never seemed at one point nervous, but instead rushed to the main court, ready to take on the former mixed doubles Olympic Champion Zhang Nan and his junior partner Li Yinhui.

“Throughout the competition my sharpness became better and better, so my condition became also pretty good,” said Watanabe.

While Arisa Higashino praised the smooth communication going on between the two “We discussed between each other pretty well, talking about who would secure this area, I guess we did well by doing that” confirmed Arisa after her match.

The duo scored a straight games win over the Chinese, 21-14 21-18 to reach their first ever All England finals where they will meet yet another on-form Chinese pair of Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong (pictured).

Battle of the best in women’s singles

Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi (pictured) stunned India’s superstar P.V Sindhu in a thrilling three-game encounter. Both players, famous for their incredible technique, did not disappoint and performed out-of-the-world rallies throughout the 80-minute match.

Despite the thunderous Indian support in the Arena Birmingham, P.V Sindhu came slightly short at the very end to counter-attack Yamaguchi’s winning spirit.

“When I was behind, I tried my best to keep up with the pace and seize the occasions, but towards the end, I decided to be more aggressive, I think this is what helped me to win,” said the Japanese ace.

The twenty-year-old player will get another huge hurdle on her way to the coveted English trophy, in the name of Tai Tzu Ying, the defending champion and favourite of the tournament. Tai survived a thrilling match against China’s Chen Yufei in the semi-final match, 21-15, 20-22, 21-13.

“Tai Tzu Ying has everything, she’s very good at attacking and defending as well as a great stamina, it is going to be a very hard match but I am ready to give all I have and enjoy the match,” said Yamaguchi.

Lin Dan eyeing the lucky seven

Men’s singles will be an all-China affair between six-time All England champion Lin Dan and his compatriot Shi Yuqi. Lin beat his compatriot Huang Yuxiang, 21-16, 13-21, 21-11, while Shi ousted Korean Son Wan Ho in straight games 21-17, 21-14.

The men’s singles finals will be a repeat of last year’s semi-finals match, where the then unseeded Shi emerged victorious.

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Tarek Hafi