Eight Chinese players and partnerships continued the recent run of impressive form since the World Championships in August, but today was different. Today the old guard of world badminton and the rising stars of the game took centre stage and upset the recent Chinese dominance of the last few months.
The day started with a Chinese victory in the mixed doubles, as 3/4 seeded Zhang and Zhao defeating Ko and Ha in two games in the first of the mixed doubles semi finals. Then came the top seeds in the singles disciplines, Lee Chong Wei took on Boonsak Ponsana in the mens singles semi final whilst Wang Shixian took on Yip Pui Yin. Both Lee Chong Wei and Wang Shixian progressed in two tight games to await a potential Chinese player in their respective finals.
The first mens doubles semi final seen the top seeded Boe and Mogensen take on Cai and Fu. The Chinese pair had dominated the recent head to head matches between the duos but the Danish pair defeated Cai and Fu in a tight three game match to claim their first victory over the Chinese pair since the All-Englands in March last year. There was success for the Chinese women with Cheng and Zhao defeating the top seeded Cheng and Chien in their womens doubles semi final, a discipline that has been dominated in the last few years by the Chinese.
Wang and Yu completed the all-Chinese line-up in the womens doubles with a victory in two games over Maeda and Suetsuna in a much closer matchup than their previous encounter in the Japan Open last year. Prapakamol and Thoungthongkam booked their place in the mixed doubles final to play Zheng and Zhao after defeating Anugritayawon and Voravichitchaikul in two games.
Another day of Chinese dominance seemed to be coming, but 3 of the last 4 matches of the day saw some stunning results. Korea’s Bae Youn Joo defeated the top seeded Wang Yihan in a tight three game matchup lasting just over an hour and sets up a match with another Chinese player, Wang Shixian in tomorrow’s final. Chen Long took on Peter Gade in a matchup between the old and new generation of the sport, with the more experienced Gade taking the match in two tight games in a match that took just less than a hour to complete to set up a rematch with Lee Chong Wei after their group match on Friday.
The final match of the day seen the second of the men’s doubles semi finals, with Lee and Jung taking on Chai and Zhang for a chance to play the top seeded Boe and Mogensen in tomorrow’s final. The match never really materialized as a close encounter with the Korean pair winning comfortably in two games to set up a final with the Danish top seeds.
Eddie has been a writer for BadmintonLife.com since June 2009 covering the Major BWF events and Super Series events. Previous worked for The Guardian newspaper and was also featured in the New York Times during the London 2012 Olympics.