In the Canada Open Grand Prix being played at Calgary, India’s Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa continued their march and reached tournament final on Saturday. In semifinal, the Commonwealth Games silver-medal winners defeated Shiho Tanaka/Koharu Yonemoto of Japan 21-17, 21-16. For the title game on Sunday, the Indian duo will take on Netherlands’ Eefje Muskens/Selena Piek, who defeated Hong Kong’s Poon Lok Yan/Tse Ying Suet in the other semifinal. Many of world’s top badminton stars have given the Calgary event a miss but one man, who has kept spectator interest alive; is Malaysia’s former world no.1, Lee Chong Wei. After being forced to three games in the quarterfinal by India’s B. Sai Praneeth on Friday, Lee faced another stern test in the semifinal against Japan’s Takuma Ueda. The Japanese had come through to the quarterfinals by beating the Chinese no.2 seed Xue Song. The winner of US open last week, Lee will take on Hong Kong’s seventh seeded player Ng Ka Long Angus, who disposed of Germany’s Marc Zwiebler in the other semifinal.
Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa have remained as the two survivors from India at the Canada. But the women have played brilliantly thus far and they are already in the final after their 21-17, 21-16 victory over Japan’s Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto in Saturday’s first women’s doubles semifinal. Against the Japanese, Jwala/Ashwini didn’t have a commanding start in the first game as both pairs exchanged leads until 14-14. At this point, the Indians reeled off 4 points on trot and ran away with the first game 21-17. In the second game, Jwala/Ashwini kept the momentum from the first game and led all through to finish victorious. Earlier on Friday, Jwala/Ashwini had played their quarterfinal match against Hong Kong’s Chan Kaka Tsz Ka/Yuen Sin Ying. After a tough first game, the Indian duo made it easier in the second to finish the match 21-19, 21-13. For the title on Sunday, the third seeded Indian pair will meet Netherlands’ Eefje Muskens/Selena Piek, who defeated Hong Kong’s Poon Lok Yan, Tse Ying Suet in the other semifinal, which was fought hard between the two pairs before the Dutchwomen emerged winners at 21-16, 18-21, 21-16.
In the men’s singles, Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei had a tough semifinal against Japan’s no.6 seed Takamu Ueda. Lee played a tough quarterfinal as well on Friday, when India’s B Sai Praneeth had given him a hard time. But the celebrated Malaysian pulled through 21-13, 18-21, 21-11. In the semifinal against Ueda on Saturday, Lee began by losing the first game 16-21. But he recomposed himself in the next two games and played with authority to beat the Japanese 16-21, 21-10, 21-12. In Sunday’s final, Lee will square off with Hong Kong’s seventh seeded player Ng Ka Long Angus. If he wins on Sunday, Lee would add to the US Open Badminton title, he won last week. Though these are not great tournaments, Lee wants to play as many of them as possible to improve his rating and get the much-needed match practice.
In the other finals on Sunday, June 28, 2015, men’s doubles will be an all-China affair with Junhui Li/Yuchen Liu playing against Huang Kaixiang/Wang Siejie; mixed doubles will be played between Indonesia’s Andrei Adistia/Vita Marissa and Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei Reginald/Chau Hoi Wah and women’s singles will feature Canada’s Michelle Li and Japan’s Kaori Imabeppu.