The 2016 Malaysian Open BWF Super-series tournament is down to the final day on Sunday with interesting contests on cards. In the men’s singles final, the top seed Chen Long of China is very aptly pitted against the no.2 seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. The two badminton greats had contrasting passages into the final. While Lee continued with his supreme command like in all his previous matches and defeated no.5 seed Dane Jan O Jorgensen in two straight games, taking just 35 minutes, Chen Long was given a tough time by Indonesian qualifier Jonatan Christie. In women’s draw, an outstanding Ratchanok Intanon stormed into the final to continue her India Open form by defeating China’s Wang Yihan without too much trouble. Intanon has played all her matches with utmost precision and she looks every bit a champion already, just as she did at Delhi a week ago. Indian men and women shuttlers had another outing. No Indian men could go beyond the first round and among women; Sindhu fell in a 29-minute quarterfinal against the dominant Intanon while Saina Nehwal came a cropper against Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying in the semifinal literally without a fight.
Indonesian men’s singles qualifier Jonatan Christie proved a tough nut to crack for China’s world champion Chen Long in the semifinal. It was the farthest that Christie ever reached in a World Super-series event but he played strongly against Chen Long to take the first game at 21-8. The Indonesian appeared all set to wrap up the match, when the Chinese took control of his game and countered Christie with renewed vigor. It took Chen Long 55 minutes before he won 8-21, 21-19, 21-14 to set up a clash with old foe Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. Lee has had a great tournament and he has progressed to the last round without dropping a game. The Malaysian’s semi-final opponent was Denmark’s world no.5 Jan O Jorgensen but the Dane couldn’t create any dent in Lee’s consistent game. The home hero Lee won unchallenged at 21-7, 21-14 and will be eying for his 11th Malaysian Open title, when he takes on Chen Long on Sunday.
Among women, the best and the most clinical performance has been delivered by Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, who reached the final without dropping a game in the tournament. It was Intanon, who decimated India’s PV Sindhu 21-7, 21-8 in the quarterfinal on Thursday and followed that up with another win in the semifinal against the formidable Chinese Wang Yihan. Intanon was a picture of poise against Yihan, who had always beaten the Thai in their previous 12 meetings. But Friday was another day as Intanon put those defeats behind her and never allowed the Chinese to settle down. It was a performance based on precision, power and control that took Intanon into the final. Her only worrying moment came in the second game, when she was down 15-19, but the Thai woman held on and finished a 21-11, 21-19 winner. In the final on Sunday, Intanon will take on Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying, who easily overpowered India’s Saina Nehwal in the other semifinal on Saturday.
The fifth day in the Malaysian Open proved lucky for Koreans, who made it into two finals. While men’s doubles pair Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang surprised compatriots Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong with a 21-16, 21-12 victory, the Korean women’s doubles team of Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan defeated Indonesia’s Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari, 21-16, 21-14. On Sunday, Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang will play against China’s Chai Biao/Hong Wei, who defeated the Danish pair of Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding 26-24, 21-19. In women’s doubles final, Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan will meet China’s Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang, who won in semifinal against Japan’s Shizuka Matsuo/Mami Naito 21-15, 21-18. The mixed doubles final will feature the Malaysian team of Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying playing against Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir. Soon/Goh caused an upset by beating Chinese world champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei 24-26, 21-15, 21-13 while Ahmad/Natsir defeated Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen 21-18, 21-17.
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