Chen Long to meet Axelsen in Australian Open final

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Sydney, May 30 (IANS) World No.1 Chen Long of China will meet Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the men’s singles final after both won their respective semifinals at the Australian Badminton Open Superseries here on Saturday.

Chen had fellow countryman Tian Houwei on the back foot for most of the match, forcing errors through shot precision and technical skills. Chen’s uncharacteristic unforced errors allowed Tian back in the second game. However, the reigning World Champion proved too good, winning 21-14, 21-19, reports Xinhua.

An all Denmark semifinal saw World No.9 Axelsen prove he belongs in the final. His long reach and accurate shuttle placement saw him take another seeded scalp, this time third seed Jan O Jorgensen in straight games 21-17, 21-15.

Spain’s Carolina Martin screamed her way into Sunday’s women’s singles final, downing South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun in straight games. The power of the Spaniard’s smash and some untimely errors by Sung helped her win the match 21-13, 21-14.

She meets China’s Wang Shixian, who dismissed Bae Yeon Ju of South Korea in straight games in Saturday’s first semifinal. Bae took early leads in both the first and second games, however, Wang dug deep, stringing a series of consecutive points to win 21-19, 21-16.

The all China men’s doubles semifinal between Liu Xiaolong/Qui Zihan and Liu Cheng/Lu Kai showed the Australian crowd what Chinese badminton is all about. Fast play, hard smashes and long, precise rallies saw the match last three games. In the end, Liu/Lu proved the better with fast, hyper accurate shots, winning 17-21, 21-11, 21-13.

Liu/Lu will meet Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na of South Korea in the final.

Ko/Kim’s opponents Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin of China let the game get away from them through unforced errors at the service net rallies. Liu/Bao fought back in the second with powerful smashes, however the Koreans managed to hold them off, winning 22-20, 21-18.

Despite their height advantage, the second seed Dutch pairing of Christinna Pederson/Kamilla Rytter Juhl fell to Ma/Tang from China 16-21, 18-21. Some great shuttle placement by the Chinese pair coupled with unforced errors saw the Dutch go home early. Ma/Tang now meet fellow countrymen Tang Jinhua/Tian Qing for the title.

Tang/Tian took the battle to their opponents Misaki Matsumoto/Ayaka Takahashi of Japan early in the match, taking the first game. The Chinese pair looked like they had the Japanese pairs number in the second, forcing errors in crucial long rallies. The gap widened to 19-14 but Matsumoto/Takahashi fought back, sending the match to the third game.

Tang/Tian wouldn’t let that happen again showing their dominance over their court, winning 21-15, 19-21, 21-8.

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