Fuzhou: Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan stayed on course for a blockbuster China Open semi-final clash after battling through men’s second round on Thursday.
Former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia scored a hard-fought 21-9, 15-21, 21-12 triumph over No. 6 seed Chou Tien Chen to win a re-run of his 2015 French Open final victory over the Taiwanese three weeks ago. On the other hand, Lin Dan, the third seed, held off Brice Leverdez of France to win his men’s singles second round victory 21-6, 21-10 in just 31 minutes.
Chou Tien Chen showed off a big game, dueling with Lee Chong Wei in the second set and coming out on top with 21-15 after a run of four consecutive points as he raced out to a commanding lead to send the match into a decider. However, Lee Chong Wei was surely recomposed in the third-set, tearing Chou’s game apart through his aggressive shots to win his second career head-to-head meeting against Chou in 64 minutes. Lee will play No. 2 seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark on Friday. Jorgensen dispatched Guo Kai of China 21-19, 21-19 to advance to the quarter-finals.
Lin Dan, the two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion will next face Hong Kong’s Hu Yun after Hu survived a three-set match from Boonsak Ponsana.
Men’s No. 1 seed Chen Long of China sealed a comfortable passage into the quarter-finals after brushing aside Hsu Jen Hao of Taiwan 21-5, 21-8 – and the world No. 1 never had to climb out of first gear. However, Chen will face a formidable challenge in quarter-finals with No. 7 Viktor Axelsen awaiting for him on Friday. Axelsen had to endure a tough 66 minutes on the badminton court before seeing off Vincent Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong 21-14, 19-21, 21-19.
Thursday was a day of great drama in the men’s doubles category at China Open. The day ended with unseeded pair Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen of China beating No. 1 seeds Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong of Korea 18-21, 21-18, 23-21 in 70 minutes to set up a quarter-final against Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol.
Another unseeded young men’s pair Wang Yilv/Zhang Wen of China also pulled off the unthinkable upset over No. 2 seeds Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan from Indonesia, rallying from a set down to stun the Indonesians 15-21, 21-11, 21-14 in 43 minutes. Wang/Zhang will play No. 5 seeds Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa on Friday.
Team Malaysia experienced the bad fortune in men’s doubles category when two of its men’s doubles pairs Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong and Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong were beaten in the second round. Koo/Tan were sent packing by Hirokatsu Hashimoto/Noriyasu Hirata 12-21, 20-22, while Goh/Tan lost to No. 4 seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen of Denmark 21-17, 16-21, 12-21 in a three-set thriller.
Amelia Alicia Anscelly/Soong Fie Cho provided a bright spot when they prevented the match from heading to a final-set decider, fought back from a 7-13 deficit in the second set to scrap through their second-round women’s doubles match against Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan of Korea 21-18, 21-19 in 42 minutes. The Malaysians will take on No. 1 seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi of Japan for a spot in the semi-final.
Women’s singles heavy favorites – No. 1 seed Saina Nehwal, No. 2 seed Carolina Marin, and No. 5 seed Wang Shixian all advanced to the quarter-finals of China Open on Thursday.