Peter Gade will attempt to turn the clock back when he plays World's top-ranked Lee Chong Wei on Sunday. The former World number one from Denmark knows only too well that the Malaysian will be the favourite for the men’s singles title in the $200,000 India Open Super Series badminton championship. With less pressure, Gade is keen to improve his 1-10 head-to-head record against Lee.
On Saturday, the men’s semifinals expectedly turned out to be one-sided with Gade, who last held the World number one spot in 2006, and Lee setting up their much-awaited clash by posting straight-game victories.
Gade, 34, scored his seventh successive victory over sixth seeded Korean Park Sung Hwan 21-15, 21-19 in 45 minutes. The Dane, who comfortably won the first game after breaking away from 3-3, faced some resistance in the second. Park bounced back from 6-12 to close the gap. But Gade used his experience to keep the shuttle in play, waited for the right time to execute the finishing stroke and gradually moved to 19-15. Once again, a gritty Park kept fighting and came within a point of catching up with Gade but could do no more.
“Park is a world class opponent and he beat Taufik Hidayat yesterday. So I had to play well to beat him. I am getting better and better with every match,” said Gade and continued in jest, “the pressure will be on Lee. Everyone says that he cannot lose to an old guy like me.”
Lee, 28, will be the favourite to continue his domination of Gade. Lee has won their last six meetings in straight games. In January, Lee brushed aside Gade 21-9, 21-14 to win the Victor BWF Super Series.
The Malaysian, who needed just 27 minutes to dismiss the challenge of eighth seeded Hong Kong player Hu Yun 21-11, 21-15, gave Gade his due.
“He is an experienced player and a great winner. I hope I can beat him here for the first super series title in India,” said Lee.
For the women’s title, unseeded Thai girl Porntip Buranaprasertuk will take on third seeded Korean Bae Youn Joo.
Porntip improved her head-to-head record against fourth seeded Hong Kong girl Yip Pui Yin to 3-2 after a 21-13, 21-8 triumph. The Thai girl stepped on the gas from 10-all in the first game and ran away with the match after opening up a 18-7 lead in the second. A high number of unforced errors from Yip Pui Yin prevented the match from becoming a close contest.
If Porntip needed just 29 minutes to win, Bae Youn Joo required 62 minutes to tame a fighting Japanese Sayaka Sato 23-21, 15-21, 21-12 and maintain her unbeaten record in three meetings.
In the day’s longest battle, Joo saved a game-point in the first game after Sayaka bounced back from 16-19. In the second, it was Sayaka all the way after breaking free at 9-all. The decider saw Joo zoom away to victory by winning the 11 out of the last 13 points, including the final six.
The results (semifinals, prefix denotes seeding):
Men singles: 1-Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt 8-Hu Yun (Hkg) 21-11, 21-15; 3-Peter Gade (Den) bt 6-Park Sung Hwan (Kor) 21-15, 21-9.
Women singles: Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (Tha) bt 4-Yip Pui Yin (Hkg) 21-13, 21-8; 3-Bae Youn Joo (Kor) bt Sayaka Sato (Jpn) 23-21, 15-21, 21-12.
Men doubles: 4-Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Noriyasu Hirata (Jpn) bt 1-Koo Kien Keat and Tan Bon Heong (Mas) 21-16, 21-19; Angga Pratama and Ryan Agung Saputra (Ina) bt 3-Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Hendra Aprida Gunawan (Ina) 21-23, 21-18, 21-14.
Women doubles:1-Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna (Jpn) bt 4-Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii (Ina) 25-23, 21-8; 2-Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa (Jpn) bt Poon Lok Yan and Tse Ying Suet (Hkg) 21-17, 16-21, 21-16.
Mixed doubles: 4-Tantowi Ahmad and Lilyana Natsir (Ina) bt 7-Muhammad Rijal and Debby Susanto (Ina) 21-17, 15-9 (retd.); 3-Fran Kurniawan and Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth (Ina) bt 5-Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh (Mas) 21-12, 21-16.
Keywords: India Open