Beijing: Men’s singles No. 2 seeds and reigning Olympic champion Chen Long from China battled back from a set down to beat fierce rival No. 3 seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 21-18, 9-21, 21-14 to book his place in the final of the China Open on Saturday.
Chen Long managed to close out the exhilarating see-saw first set despite Axelsen’s attempt to close the gap at 15-15 and 18-19. In the second set, after Axelsen opened up a 10-5 gap, Chen Long has decided to reserve his energy for the decider by losing the second set easily to Axelsen.
Chen came out strongly in the third set as he sent Axelsen scrambling all over the court with his great all-around skills. Chen went on to beat Axelsen in 69 minutes and will clash with another Denmark player Jan Jorgensen in the final.
World No. 6 Jan Jorgensen had to dig deep to progress to the men’s singles final, eventually beating Malaysian shuttler Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin 22-20, 20-22, 21-7 in a semi-final match that lasted 60 minutes.
“Jorgensen tried to intimidate me several times during the match. He asked me to keep quiet after I celebrated some hard-fought points. He also called me Lee Chong Wei, which I think is very disrespectful,” said Zainuddin.
In women’s singles, Olympic silver medalist P.V. Sindhu of India fought back after dropping the first set and saving 3 match points in the second set, before edging past No. 6 seed Sung Ji Hyun from Korea 11-21, 23-21, 21-19 to reach the China Open Super Series final.
The No. 7 seed Sindhu is scheduled to cross the swords with rising Chinese badminton star No. 8 seed Sun Yu in the summit showdown on Sunday.
Top-seeded men’s doubles pair Chai Biao/Hong Wei of China went the distance with Indonesia’s No. 7 seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo before bowing out with 21-16, 24-26, 19-21 in 64 minutes. Gideon/Sukamuljo will play No. 4 seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen of Denmark next.
Unseeded Zhang Nan/Li Yinhui of China also pulled off the second biggest upset in the semi-finals of China Open with the victory over No. 1 seeds Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na 21-19, 10-21, 21-15. Zhang/Li are set to face reigning Olympic champions and No. 2 seeds Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia for the mixed double title.
Chinese women’s doubles pair Huang Dongping/Li Yinhui’s Cinderella run to their first-ever Superseries finals got the home crowd really fired up. They will face No. 6 seeds Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee of Korea in the finals on Sunday.