Sydney: As expected, world No. 1 Chen Long advanced to the final of Australian Open by defeating compatriot Tian Houwei 21-14, 21-19 in the men’s singles semi-finals on Saturday. Chen Long was tested at the beginning of first set when he was trailing 2-8. Chen recomposed himself and started to find his rhythm to level the score at 8-8. He then managed to climb his way back to clinch the first set with 21-14. Chen Long has pretty much dominated the second set, saw off a tough fight from fellow teammate Tian Houwei 21-19 to book his place in the final.
Viktor Axelsen who earlier swept aside Lin Dan in the 1st round, and was considered a dark horse at this year’s Australian Open, put up another spirited fight to blast past compatriot and No. 3 seed Jan Jorgensen 21-17, 21-15 to set up a final clash with Chen Long in the men’s singles final on Sunday.
With another outstanding performance, the No. 3 seed women’s singles shuttler and reigning world champion Carolina Marin of Spain survived a brave challenge from South Korean Sung Ji Hyun as the Spaniard fend off the Korean 21-13, 21-14 to set up a dream women’s singles final against Wang Shixian of China on Sunday. The 5th seeded Wang defeated Bae Yeon Ju of Korea 21-19, 21-16 to reach the women’s singles final.
Two biggest upsets of the day came from mixed doubles and women’s doubles. Unseeded mixed doubles pair of Reginald Lee Chun Hei/Chau Hoi Wah from Hong Kong shocked 2nd seeds Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia 21-8, 9-21, 21-15 in the semi-finals. On the other hand, 6th seeds Tan Jinhua/Tian Qing of China stunned world No.1 women’s doubles pair Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi of Japan 21-15, 19-21, 21-8 to take on compatriots Ma Jin/Tang Yuanting in the women’s doubles final on Sunday.
World No.1 men’s pair Lee Yong-Dae/Yoo Yeon-Seong of South Korea overcame a closely contested match against Chai Biao/Hong Wei of China on Saturday. The Korean duo fought tooth and nail to surge past the Chinese pair 22-20, 21-18 in 56 minutes. Lee/Yoo will face another Chinese men’s pair Liu Cheng/Lu Kai in the final.