Saturday January 12, 2013
Pullout of Chinese pairs overshadows Malaysians’ march into semis of Korean badminton open
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s top men’s singles and doubles shuttlers Lee Chong Wei and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong marched into the semi-finals of the Korean Open in Seoul but it was the season’s first withdrawal involving two women’s doubles pairs from China that raised the eyebrows.
Defending champion Chong Wei made it all seem so easy with a straight forward 21-15, 21-17 win over Hu Yun of Hong Kong in 31 minutes.
It could have finished earlier if not for the unforced errors by Chong Wei, who will take on another Hong Kong shuttler – Wong Wing Ki – today.
Wing Ki prevented an all-Malaysian semi-final when he beat Chong Wei Feng 21-5, 17-21, 21-15 in 53 minutes.
The other men’s singles semi-final will be between China’s Du Pengyu and Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro.
National singles coach Tey Seu Bock is predicting a Chong Wei-Pengyu final.
At their last meeting, Pengyu defeated Chong Wei in the BWF’s World Super Series Finals before the Malaysian withdrew with a thigh injury.
“Chong Wei’s opponent today (Hu Yun) was not strong and he took a more relaxed approach. It should be another good day for Chong Wei tomorrow and it could be a rematch against Pengyu after all,” said Seu Bock.
In the men’s doubles, Kien Keat-Boon Heong will face their first real test against the more stable Ko Sung-hyun-Lee Yong-dae of South Korea today.
Second seeds Kien Keat-Boon Heong defeated Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan of China 21-12, 21-19 while the Koreans demolished Malaysian back-up pair Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem 21-16, 21-10.
National doubles coach Tan Kim Her said Kien Keat-Boon Heong would have to adopt the right tactics if they hope to overcome Sung-hyun-Yong-dae.
“The Koreans are physically stronger. The shuttle is slow here and I reckon they would go for a more defensive game,” said Kim Her.
“Our guys will have to play a more solid game and mix it up with a faster pace to break their rhythm.”
Meanwhile, China created a buzz for the second consecutive day when Cheng Shu-Zhao Yunlei conceded a walkover to Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang in the second round of the women’s doubles.
Xiaoli-Yu Yang are making a comeback after being one of the four pairs banned from the London Olympic Games over match-fixing allegations.
On the opening day, China caused a stir when Chen Long (men’s singles), Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (men’s doubles) and Wang Yihan and Li Xuerui (women’s singles) retired half way through their first round matches, citing injuries.
For the record, it is compulsory for all the top 10 players in the world to compete in the Super Series Premier. Otherwise, they would be fined.