JOHOR BAHRU: Defending champion Lee Chong Wei smashed his way to an easy 21-6, 21-13 win over Indonesia’s
Taufik Hidayat to reach the semi-finals at the World Super Series Masters Finals on Thursday.
The 27-year-old world number one from Malaysia completes his group fixtures with a match against China’s
Boa Chunlai, who also advanced with a 17-21, 21-18, 21-16 win over Taiwan’s Hsieh Yu Hsin.
Lee was at his best and said: "I just wanted to win and book my place in the semis. A defeat would have meant I had to wait for my final group match to decide my fate.
"I want to win my final group match and top the group. It does not matter who I play for a place in the final," said Lee.
In the Group B men’s singles match, South Korea’s Park Sung Hwan breezed into the semi-finals, upsetting second-seeded Peter Gade.
The lanky Korean battled for an hour before securing a 21-12, 7-21, 21-15 win over the Dane. It was Park’s second successive win in his group, having beaten Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana in the first match.
Gade, who beat compatriot Jan Jorgensen in his first match, will have to beat Boonsak on Friday for a top-two finish in the group and a place in the semi-finals.
"Park played the best match I have played against him. Tomorrow I just have to win and I know two wins in the group will be good enough for me to make the semis," Gade said.
Boonsak also hauled himself back on track when he outplayed Jorgensen 21-9, 21-18 in 33 minutes. Jorgensen is now out of contention.
In the women’s singles, Malaysia’s Wong Mew Choo is going great guns in this tournament, which offers 500,000 dollars in prize money — the richest badminton tournament in the world.
After her win over top seed Saina Nehwal of India in her first match, Wong was in fiery form against Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk.
The Malaysian took only 27 minutes in her 21-9, 21-7 win to beat the Thai. She will meet Canada’s Charmaine Reid in her third and final match in Group A on Friday.
"I feel good. I feel confident. However, I am taking one match at a time as each opponent has her own strengths and weaknesses," said the 26-year-old Wong.
"I am still bothered by the nagging knee injuries but it is under control," she added.
India’s Saina, who lost to Wong, gave a polished display to beat Canada’s Reid 21-14, 21-9 in a Group A match.
In Group B, Boonsak’s sister Salakjit, who is seeded second, is back in the running after a shock defeat to the Netherlands’ Yao Jie in the first round. Salakjit outplayed Germany’s Nicole Grether 21-17, 21-7 in her second match.
Yao Jie in turn was beaten Thursday, going down in straight sets 13-21, 10-21 to Germany’s
Juliane Schenk, a defeat which threw the group wide open.
In the men’s doubles, South Koreans Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae assured themselves a place in the last four with a 21-19, 21-19 win over Indonesia’s Alvent Chandra and Hendra Gunawan, their second win in Group B.