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Updated: April 5, 2014 23:49 IST

Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long in dream final

Rakesh Rao
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MADE TO SWEAT: China's Chen Long was tested by Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen before prevailing in the semifinals on Saturday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
The Hindu
MADE TO SWEAT: China's Chen Long was tested by Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen before prevailing in the semifinals on Saturday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

It's Li Xuerui vs Wang Shixian in women’s final

The top seeds in all three doubles events failed to survive the semifinals but mercifully, the world’s top-ranked singles players, crowd-pullers Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei (men’s) and China’s Li Xuerui (women’s) took contrasting routes to the final of the $250,000 Yonex Sunrise India Open badminton championship here on Saturday.

Both the men’s semifinals went the distance with Lee Chong Wei needing 72 minutes to stop China's Du Pengyu 21-17, 19-21, 21-14. Earlier, second-seeded Chinese Chen Long dropped a game for the first time in six encounters to Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen before winning in 79 minutes.

Wang bounces back

In the all-China ladies semifinals, Li Xuerui packed off unseeded Xin Liu in just 32 minutes. She will face second seed Wang Shixan who bounced back from the loss of the opening game to beat third seed Wang Yihan in 58 minutes in the battle of two former world number one players.

With the players forming the creamy layer of the badminton world on view, there was no dearth of quality. Lee Chong Wei, the undisputed crowd favourite, stretched his head-to-head record against Du Pengyu to 12-1 following his sixth straight victory.

The Chinese, whose only victory over the world number one came in the 2012 World Superseries Finals, battled brilliantly to snatch the second game. But in the decider, Lee Chong Wei was never threatened.

On Sunday, Lee Chong Wei takes on Chen Long with whom he shares an 8-8 head-to-head record. Last month, Lee Chong Wei won their clash in All England championship to end a four-match losing streak.

Chen Long stretched his all-win record against Jorgensen to six matches but was tested all the way. In the second game, the Dane rallied from 14-18 and converted his third game point. In the decider, Chen Long broke away from 18-all to sneak into the final.

The battle involving the two Wangs — Shixian and Yihan — was no less thrilling. Shixian who ended her seven-match losing streak to Yihan in last month's All England, won again. Yihan's errors on the big points of the close decider made the difference.

After dropping the first game, Shixian found her rhythm in the second. The decider saw the players moving neck and neck till 20-all before Shixian converted her second match-point.

The results (semifinals):

Men: Singles: 1-Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt 7-Du Pengyu (Chn) 21-17, 19-21, 21-14; 2-Chen Long (Chn) bt 4-Jan O Jorgensen (Den) 21-15, 21-23, 21-19. Doubles: 3-Liu Xiaolong & Qiu Zihan (Chn) bt 1-Hiroyuki Endo & Kenichi Hayakawa (Jpn) 21-19, 21-19; 2-Mathias Boe & Cartsen Mogensen (Den) bt Maneepong Jongjit & Nipitphon Puangpuapech (Tha) 21-15, 21-15.

Women: Singles: 1-Li Xuerui (Chn) bt Xin Liu (Chn) 21-12, 21-13; 2-Wang Shixian (Chn) bt 3-Wang Yihan (Chn) 15-21, 21-7, 22-20. Doubles: Kyung Eun Jung & Ha Na Kim (Kor) bt 1-Christinna Pedersen & Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den) 21-18, 21-18; Yuangtin Tang & Yang Yu (Chn) bt 6-Ma Jin & Wang Xiaoli (Chn) 21-12, 21-13.

Mixed doubles: 3-Joachim Fischer Nielsen & Christinna Pedersen (Den) bt 1-Zhang Nan & Zhao Yunlei (Chn) 14-21, 21-6, 21-18; 4-Sung Hyun Ko & Ha Na Kim (Kor) bt 2-Tontowi Ahmad & Lillyana Natsir (Den) 22-20, 21-18.

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