For the second time in one week, Malaysia’s former world no.1 has defeated the reigning world champion Chen Long of China. With the 3-game quarterfinal victory over Chen, Lee has proved that his China Open triumph was not a one-off thing. Lee has now reached within two matches of picking up his third Super-series title after early exits at Japan, Korea and Denmark. Lee’s semifinal opponent on Saturday will be the giant-killing local hero Angus Ng Ka Long, who defeated another Chinese Chou Tien Chen. Among women, world champion Carolina Marin continued her superb run of the 2015 season with a quarterfinal victory over Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk. The Spaniard has reached one step closer to claiming her sixth major title of the year 2015. The current badminton season has seen an impressive improvement in Marin’s world ranking as she began the year as world no.8 and now occupies the top spot.
Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei continued to go from strength to strength. In last week’s Thaihot China Open, he came through for the summit clash with world no.1 Chen Long after beating Denmark’s world no.2 Jan O Jorgensen and Chinese world no.3 Lin Dan. In his second victory of the week over Chen Long, Lee began by losing the first game 13-21 against an opponent, who looked like extracting revenge for his China Open loss. After winning the first game, Chen dictated terms to Lee for the better part of second game too but Lee was not about to throw in the towel. The Malaysian managed to fight back late in the second set and by squaring off set scores, forced the decider. The marathon 86-minute quarterfinal was, therefore, decided in the third game with Lee testing Chen with some exquisitely executed smashes and delicate net-play. With the match slipping away from his grasp, Chen Long tended to become a bit tentative and committed some avoidable errors on crunch points as Lee romped home with a 13-21, 21-19, 21-15 victory.
In the semifinal on Saturday, Lee will face Hong Kong’s local favorite Angus Ng Ka Long, who reached the semifinals by beating China’s no.5 seed Chou Tien Chen. With the crowd backing him raucously, Ng has had great run in the tournament. The Hong King Hero defeated Taiwan’s Hsu Jen Hao in first round and shocked no.3 seed Lin Dan in the second. Against Chou in the quarterfinals, Ng fought for over one hour before coming through with a 21-17, 15-21, 21-15 victory. In the other semifinal, Indonesia’s 19-year old qualifier Anthony Ginting will take on China’s no.5 seed Tian Houwei. Ginting defeated another qualifier from Japan, Kazumasa Sakai 21-14, 21-14 while Tian outplayed his countryman Wang Zhengming 21-15, 21-11.
Women’s singles semifinal line-up also emerged on Friday with world champion Carolina Marin making a signature statement in her match against Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 21-12, 21-13 in just 35 minutes. The Spaniard has not dropped a single game in the tournament but now has her toughest challenge as she meets China’s no.8 seed Wang Yihan in the semifinal on Saturday. Marin has been superb this year and besides retaining her World Championship crown, she has bagged 4 more major titles. Marin’s semifinal opponent Wang has had a great tournament as well and she scored a thumping 21-14, 21-7 victory over Korean third-seed Sung Ju Hyun. In two other women singles quarterfinal matches; seventh seed Ratchanok Intanon defeated Japan’s Sayaka Sato 21-19, 21-11 while Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara stunned fourth-seeded Taiwanese Tai Tzu Ying 21-13, 21-13. Inatanon and Okuhara will fight for a place in the final on Saturday.
Women’s doubles saw a huge upset on Friday in an all-Japanese quarterfinal. In a match lasting 96 minutes, top seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi lost 21-23, 21-17, 13-21 to their unseeded compatriots Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao. Fukuman/Yonao will play the semifinal against China’s no.5 seeds Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei, who fought hard against the Denmark combo of Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl before winning at 21-15, 21-23, 21-11. The other women’s semifinal will be played between the Indonesian pair of Nitya Krishinda Maheswari/Greysia Polii and unseeded Chinese Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang.
In men’s doubles, top seeds Koreans Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeong Seong will square off with no.6 seeded Chinese Chai Biao/Hong Wei for a place in the final while in the other semifinal, Indonesia’s no.2 seeds Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan will fight against Denmark’s no.3 seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen. In mixed doubles, no.1 seeds Chinese Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei will take on Korea’s Yoo Yeon Seong/Chang Ye Na in the first semifinal while in the other, China’s no.3 seeds Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin and Korea’s Shin Baek Cheol/Yoo Jung Chae fight out for the other final spot.
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