Chen Yufei, Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan Reach Olympic Finals

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Chen Yufei reaches the Tokyo Olympic women's singles final. (photo: Fred Lee/Getty Images)
Chen Yufei reaches the Tokyo Olympic women's singles final. (photo: Fred Lee/Getty Images)

Tokyo: In an all-Chinese women’s singles semi-final, the World No. 2 Chen Yufei and World No. 9 He Bingjiao went all out to fight for the final Olympic badminton berth.

Throughout the history of China badminton, if they have two players facing each other in the semi-finals of big tournaments such as World Championships or the Olympics, the China badminton team would ask one of the Chinese players to lose on purpose, so that the other player could reach the final with full energy. For example, in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Ye Zhaoying was asked to lose to Gong Zhichao in the semi-final, and Gong went on to beat Camilla Martin of Denmark in the final.

In the 2004 Athens Olympic, Zhou Mi was also instructed to lose to Zhang Ning in the semi-finals, and Zhang successfully defeated Mia Audina of the Netherlands in the final.

A similar situation also happened in the 2008 Beijing Olympic men’s singles semi-finals between Lin Dan and Chen Jin. Lin won the semi-final and eventually defeated Lee Chong Wei in the final.

The 2012 London Olympic scandal was also involved Chinese players, Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli and six other players who were disqualified for trying to lose. Therefore, it was a surprise to see Chen Yufei and He Bingjiao fight down to the wire before Chen ultimately won 21-16, 13-21, 21-12 in 79 minutes.

Chen will face World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan in the final. Tai has a 15-3 head-to-head record against Chen Yufei and an 8-2 head-to-head record against He Bingjiao.

The Taiwanese needed 40 minutes to beat World No. 7 and the Rio Olympic silver medalist – PV Sindhu of India 21-18, 21-12.

In the women’s doubles semi-finals, the World No. 3 Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan of China defeated World No. 5 Kim Soyeong/Kong Heeyong of Korea 21-15, 21-11 in the semi-finals. Chen/Jia also defeated the same opponents in their last Group D match last Tuesday with 19-21, 21-16, 21-14.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s World No. 6 Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu overcame World No. 4 Lee Sohee/Shin Seungchan 21-19, 21-17 to enter the final.

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