Thursday brought a string of upsets in the BCA Indonesia Open with seeded players in all categories crashing out like nine pins. China and Indonesia suffered the worst defeats at this stage of competition ever seen in any super-series event. From China, Lin Dan, Li Xuerui, Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei and Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan all lost their matches to players/pairs several ranked lower in world rankings. Indonesia had the same fate with Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari, Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan and Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir going out of the reckoning. Amid the wreckage, India’s Saina Nehwal and Spain’s Carolina Marin had survived the tumultuous Thursday and advanced to the quarterfinal for another showdown against each other. Then the Spaniard pulled off another victory over the Indian on Friday to advance to the semifinals. The rest of Indian challenge had already ended on Thursday with men and women’s doubles team of Manu Attri/B Sumeeth Reddy and Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa losing their matches. Saina’s exit had left no Indian in the tournament at this stage.
On Thursday, Saina Nehwal had crossed one hurdle in the Indonesian super-series with an easy victory over Indonesian youngster Fitriani Fitriani but lost her next match to Spain’s Carolina Marin on Friday. Against Fitriani, Saina looked in total control in the match despite the 17-year old Fitriani doing her best. The Indian entered the quarterfinal with a 32-minute 21-11, 21-10 victory to set up a showdown with Spain’s world no.1 Carolina Marin. On her part, Marin had warded off a strong first-game challenge from Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi before winning at 24-22, 21-14.
In the quarterfinal played on Friday, Saina and Marin were equally matched in the first game. After Marin opened an early 3-0 lead, Saina bounced back to reverse the lead in her favor at 7-6. But Marin came back to eat into Saina’s game and led yet again until the score reached 13-9. However, the Indian had no intention of giving up just yet. She brought the scores level at 14-14 and opened a 16-14 lead. Both players were in fighting mode and the Spaniard leveled at 16-16. Then it was Saina’s turn to win three straight points to reach 19-16. While Saina was within two points from pocketing the first game, Marin brought her fighting skills and leveled the scores yet again. From here, every point became priceless. Finally, Marin closed the first game 24-22 leaving the Indian dejected. In the second game, Saina looked as if she was carrying her disappointment in her play as she allowed Marin some easy points. At the break Marin led 11-5 and she continued to dominate until the end. With little resistance coming from Saina, the Spaniard finished the match 24-22, 21-11 in 47 minutes.
Carolina Marin’s semifinal opponent on Saturday will be China’s no.4 seed Wang Yihan, who reached the semifinal by beating Korea’s no.7 seed Sung Ji Hyun 21-18, 13-21, 22-20. The two other women’s singles quarterfinals were also played on Friday. In the first, no.6 seeded Chinese Wang Shixian played against her compatriot Sun Yu. The two Chinese women fought hard before Shixian outlasted Yu in a 70-minute battle with a score-line of 18-21, 21-19, 21-16. In the other semifinal on Saturday, Wang Shixian will take on Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying, who defeated Japan’s no.5 seed Nozomi Okuhara 21-18, 13-21, 21-8 in another hard-fought match.
In men’s singles draw, Indonesia’s Ihsan Maulana Mustofa, Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen, Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei and China’s Tian Houwei have already reached the semifinals. Lee’s Chinese opponent Wang Zhengming picked up some injury in the second game and retired with scores reading 21-16, 9-2 Retd in Lee’s favor. Mustofa defeated England’s Rajiv Ouseph 17-21, 21-12, 21-12, Jorgensen fended off Indonesian Jonatan Christie 14-21, 21-19, 21-14 and in the fourth quarterfinal, China’s no.6 seed Tian Houwei defeated Hong Kong’s Hu Yun 14-21, 21-15, 21-18. Houwei will face Jan O Jorgensen in the semifinal on Saturday while Lee Chong Wei will take on Ihsan Maulana Mustofa.