KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia: Top seeded Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia will take on his old Indonesian rival Taufik Hidayat in the men’s single semi-finals match in the inaugural Super Series Masters Finals on Saturday.
The other semi-final pits two old foes, Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia and Peter Gade of Denmark, who made the cut despite losing to Malaysian Wong Choong Hann in his final Group A match on Friday night.
Lee, the tournament favourite topped Group A after securing three straight wins, including an easy 21-13, 20-22, 21-8 win Hong Kong’s Chan Yan Kit on Friday.
Hidayat also had a stroll in the park with a comfortable 21-8, 21-17 win over England’s Andrew Smith.
Kuncoro topped Group B with three straight wins, the latest when he outclassed third seed, Joachim Perrson of Denmark 12-21, 21-7, 21-16.
The season-ending Super Series Masters Finals began on Thursday in Kota Kinabalu in the eastern state of Sabah on Borneo island. It offers a total purse of 500,000 dollars.
Malaysian pair, Koo Kien Kiat and Tan Boon Heong continued their impressive run on Friday, to top Group B unbeaten and qualify for the last four on Saturday.
Despite being ranked sixth for this tournament, the Malaysian pair created an upset Friday night when they upstaged the top seeds and tournament favourites, Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia, winning 21-14, 17-21, 21-18.
Koo and Tan play fellow Malaysians, Mohamad Zakry Abdul Latif/Mohamad Fairuzizuan Mohamad Tazari in the semi-finals.
They had earlier in the day beaten Tony Gunawan and Candra Wijaya the veteran USA/Indonesian pair 21-16, 21-11.
Speaking to the media later, Koo said that their mission was to top the Group despite being the underdogs.
“We gave our best display but despite winning the first game, we had to go to the rubber because we made too many mistakes in the second game and lost.
“But we remained focused to win the decider. In the semi-finals, it can go either way,” said Koo.
Zakry and Fairuzizuan, the second seeds succumbed to an onslaught by Jung/Lee, 21-17, 21-16 earlier in the day, but bounced back with a 21-8, 18-21, 22-20 win over England’s Chris Adcock/Robert Blair later to finish second in the group.
Kido and Setiawan also qualified for the semi-finals and will take on crack Korean pair, Jung Jae Sung/Lee Yong Dae, who are ranked third. The Koreans topped Group A with three straight wins.
The women’s singles sees top seeded Mi Zhou of Hong Kong take on the second seed Tine Rasmussen of Denmark in one semi-finals while the other tips Wang Chen of Hong Kong against the up and coming Saina Nehwal of India.
The Malaysian top seeds Chin Eei Hui and Wong Pei Tty will take on fourth seeds Ha Jung Eun/Kim Min Jung of Korea in the women’s doubles semi-finals. The other semi-finals is an all Indonesian clash between second seed Lilyana Natsir and Vita Marissa and Jo Novita/Greysia Polii.
In the mixed doubles, Indonesian Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir, the top seeds will face England’s Anthony Clark/Donna Kellogg, the third seeds. In the other semi-finals second seed Thomas Laybourn/Kamilla Rytter of Denmark play Thai pair Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoung Thong Kam.
Lee Chong Wei (MAS) bt Chan Yan Kit (HKG) 21-13 20-22 21-8
Wong Chong Hann (MAS) bt Peter Gade (DEN) 21-18, 14-21, 21-16
Sony Dwi Kuncoro (INA) bt Joachim Persson (DEN) 12-21, 21-7, 21-16
Taufik Hidayat (INA) bt Andrew Smith (ENG) 21-8, 21-17.
Zhou Mi (HKG) bt Hirayama Yu (JPN) 21-4 21-11
Wang Chen (HKG) bt Xu Huaiwen (GER) 21-12 16-21 21-11
Tine Rasmussen (DEN) bt Pi Hongyan (FRA) 21-14, 21-8
Saina Nehwal (IND) bt Wong Mew Choo (MAS) 21-10, 17-21, 21-16