Indonesian Cuncoro, Hong Kong’s Zhang upset Chinese rivals to reach badminton final


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Indonesia's Sony Dwi Cuncoro stunned China's Chen Yu 18-21, 21-13, 21-15 to reach the men's final Saturday, the latest in a series of upsets at the World Badminton Championship.

In another stunning result Saturday, Hong Kong's Wang Chen defeated Olympic champion and top seed Zhang Ning of China 21-11, 21-15 to book a place in the women's final.

However, defending champion and World No. 1 Lin Dan of China stayed true to form, beating compatriot Bao Chunlai 21-12, 22-20 for a title clash against Cuncoro, against whom he has never lost before.

Wang, the No. 6 seed, provided the day's opening upset to book a place in the final of the World Championship for the first time in her career. To win the title, she will have to defeat another Chinese, Zhu Lin, who beat teammate Lu Lan 21-10, 21-13 in the second semifinal Saturday.

"This could be my last World Championship and I have to make the best of it," said Wang, 31. "I have a bronze medal from the 1997 meet but this time I hope it would be a gold," said the Hong Kong shuttler, who won the Indonesian Open in May and the Asian Badminton Championship in 2005.

The ninth-seed Cuncoro continued in the men's section, from where Wang had left off to stun sixth-seed Chen — a result sure to boost his confidence before the final clash with Lin Dan.

"I am determined to change things, even though the result of our previous meetings has not been in my favor," said Cuncoro, 23. "Maybe this time it will be my turn."

"Lin Dan is undeniably the world's best player today and it's going to be even more tiring playing him as I did against Chen Yu today," said Cuncoro, who defeated Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei, the No 2 seed, and Denmark's Peter Gade, en route to the final.

The Indonesian camp had other reasons to celebrate. Their men's doubles pair of Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan clawed their way into the final with a hard-fought 22-20, 28-26 win over Malaysia's Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah on Saturday.

The 40-minute encounter was watched by an estimated 10,000 wildly cheering Malaysian fans.

"But in the end we have to admit that the Indonesians were slightly better. They were more composed and at the crucial moments they did what was necessary to take the point," said Lee, 32.

The Indonesians will play the South Korean pair of Jung Jae Sung and Lee Yong Dae in the final, after they beat Japan's Shuchi Sakamoto and Shintaro Ikeda 21-16, 21-12 in the other semifinal match.

The combination of Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir in the mixed doubles is Indonesia's third representative in the final, where they will come up against their archrival Zheng Bo and Gao Ling, the No 1 seed, in a clash of the tournament's top two pair.

"The past results were in their favor at 2-1 … but you can never tell what will happen in the final," said Widianto, whose combination with Natsir won the 2005 World Championship.


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