KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei will be out to safeguard his five-year unbeaten run against Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand when the old hands clash in the men’s singles semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open in Kowloon on Saturday.
On Friday, top seed Chong Wei was in ruthless form when he crushed reigning French Open champion Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark 21-8, 21-17 in just 34 minutes.
The 31-year-old Boonsak was also in his element when he toyed around with Hans-Kristian Vittignhus before romping to a 21-17, 21-16 win.
Chong Wei is the only Malaysian left in the fray following the defeat of Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying to Chris Adcock-Gabriele White of England in the mixed doubles event. The Malaysian duo went down 18-21, 12-21.
National coach Rashid Sidek said that Chong Wei, who has not lost to Boonsak since his defeat to the Thai star at the Asian Badminton Championships in 2008, has a good chance to end the Super Series season on a high note.
The Hong Kong Open is the last leg of the 12-stop Super Series and currently, the 31-year-old Chong Wei is the proud winner of five titles – the Malaysian, Korean, India, Indonesia and Japan Opens.
“Chong Wei was awesome in the opening game – scoring convincing points from his aggressive attacking game. Jan found his touch in the second game but Chong Wei did not relent. He did well to vary the game and continually disrupted Jan’s movement on court,” said Rashid.
“On current form, Chong Wei holds the advantage over Boonsak and should make it to the final without much resistance. Both these old-timers have been playing against each other for ages and I believe Chong Wei knows how to bring Boonsak down tomorrow,” he said.
In another quarter-final match, Tommy Sugiarto snuffed out the fire in the last player from China when he stunned former world junior champion Wang Zhengming 17-21, 21-9, 21-12 to reach the semi-finals.
He will take on the winner of the match between his illustrious team-mate Sony Dwi Kuncoro and third seed Kenichi Tago.
Meanwhile, Thailand continued to show their depth in the women’s singles when Porntip Buranaprasertsuk put up a stellar performance to dump top seed and Olympic Games champion Li Xuerui of China 21-15, 21-19 in 38 minutes.
Three months ago, Li Xuerui was beaten by another Thai girl – Ratchanok Intanon – in the final of the World Championships in Guangzhou.