India’s PV Sindhu and Sameer Verma earned the distinction of entering women and men’s singles finals of 2016 Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open on Saturday. While Sindhu played a vastly improved game compared to her quarterfinal on Friday, Sameer sprang HK Open’s biggest surprise by outlasting Denmark’s world no.3 Jan O Jorgensen. In the other all-Hong Kong men’s semifinal, NG Ka Long Angus defeated compatriot Hu Yun and raised local hopes of the first-ever men’s crown for a home player. For the second time in seven days, Taiwanese star Tai Tzu Ying tricked World and Olympic Champion Carolina Marin in women’s semifinal and prevented the Spaniard from defending her Hong Kong Super-series crown that she won last year. Tai will take on Olympic silver winner Sindhu on Sunday in the title contest.
PV Sindhu stands on the verge of winning her second Super-series crown in one week. In the semifinal, Sindhu faced Saina Nehwal’s conqueror Cheung Ngan Yi but didn’t start with confidence in the first game. The two players were on equal terms until 7-7 before Sindhu went into a 15-11 lead. That swelled to 19-14 and after that Sindhu didn’t lose any more point. She took the first game at 21-14 and continued with her winning momentum in the second game. She led the Hong Kong player from start and despite Cheung fighting back to level at 10-10, Sindhu raced to lead 15-12. Cheung scored two more points but Sindhu still led at 16-14 and then reeled off four points to hold 5 match points at 20-15. Sindhu won the match at 21-14, 21-16. In order to lift the Hong Kong Open crown, Sindhu will have to beat a deceptive Taiwanese Tai Tzu Ying, who defeated no.1 seeded Olympic champion Carolina Marin 21-17, 14-21, 21-16. This was the second time in one week that Tai had upset the Olympic champion. Tai played brilliantly from start and didn’t allow too many liberties to the World Champion Spaniard from the very beginning. Marin found it difficult to deal with Tai’s loopy drop shots and delayed flicks. Tai will try to reclaim the title she won in 2014 but Sindhu too will look forward to winning her second Super-series title in one week.
Saturday’s biggest surprise was Sameer Verma’s shock victory over Denmark’s world no.3 Jan O Jorgensen. Sameer kept his game on an even keel and didn’t allow Jorgensen too much space in the match. He won the first game at 21-19 and kept fighting in the second despite the Dane racing to an 11-5 lead at the break. After the players came back, Sameer allowed Jorgensen two more points and reeled off eight for himself to reach 13-13. But the Dane used his experience to make it 17-15. However, Sameer kept pace with the Dane and the score reached 20-20. They kept fighting and at 22-22, Sameer produced two points that gave him a place in Sunday’s final with a 21-19, 24-22 victory. The Indian will take on NG Ka Long Angus, who came through by beating countryman Hu Yun 21-19, 21-7 in just 30 minutes. NG Ka Long will have the crowd with him on Sunday but Sameer is capable of upsetting him.
In Saturday’s other results, the Danish pair of Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen reached men’s doubles final by beating Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan/Rian Agung Saputro 21-18, 21-11. For the title on Sunday, they will face the Japanese duo of Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda, who beat China’s Chai Biao/Hong Wei 21-15, 19-21, 21-17. In mixed doubles, Indonesians Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto defeated Korea’s Choi Solgyu/Chae Yoo Jung 19-21, 21-18, 21-18. The mixed doubles final on Sunday will be an all-Indonesia affair with Jordan/Susanto playing against Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir, who outplayed Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet 23-21, 21-14. The women’s doubles final on Sunday will be the sole event with Chinese present. For that title, the Chinese duo of Huang Dongping/Li Yinhui will fight it out with Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen/ Kamilla Rytter Juhl.