PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei made a convincing entry to the semi-finals of the Korean Open in Seoul yesterday but he may run into difficulties today against a fired-up Chen Jin of China.
Chong Wei stamped his superiority in the quarter-final match against Boonsak Ponsana, beating the Thai 21-14, 21-10 in 33 minutes.
Chen Jin was also devastating in a 21-7, 21-19 victory over Vietnamese Nguyen Tien Minh.
The second ranked Chinese is certainly determined to start the season on a good note after finishing without a title last year. In fact, Chen Jin, who finished as the runner-up to compatriot Lin Dan in the World Championships in India, did not even get past the semi-finals of a Super Series event last year.
Chong Wei conceded that he can expect a very tough match against Chen Jin.
“I have learnt not to be intimidated by any of my opponents, no matter how good they are,” said Chong Wei in a telephone interview yesterday.
“Today, for instance, I know Boonsak’s style of play very well. He can be a tough opponent but I did not give him much room to maximize his attacking game. My defensive play worked for me today.
“Against Chen Jin, my concern is not over how badly he wants to win the title here. I will be thinking of how best I can take him down tomorrow.
“I am pleased with the way I am playing here so far. I believe that I still have a good chance of winning the Korean Open for the first time.”
The other semi-final is between defending champion Peter-Gade Christensen of Denmark and Chen Long of China.
Christensen, who beat Chong Wei in last year’s final, came through a herculean fight before prevailing with 17-21, 21-16, 22-20 over home star Park Sung-hwan while Chen Long received a walkover from compatriot Bao Chunlai, who was troubled by a back problem.
There were suprises in the men’s doubles when unseeded Chinese Chai Biao-Zhang Nan and Japanese Endo Hiroyuki-Hirobe Yoshiteru made it to the semi-finals.
Chai-Zhang will take on South Koreans Jung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae while Endo-Hirobe will be out to continue with their fairy tale run in a match against reigning world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China.
Quarter final results:
Men’s singles: Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 21-14, 21-10; Chen Jin (Chn) bt Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie) 21-7, 21-19; Chen Long (Chn) w.o. Bao Chunlai (Chn); Peter-Gade Christensen (Den) bt Park Sung-hwan (Kor) 17-21, 21-16, 22-20.
Men’s doubles: Jung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae (Kor) bt Kim Ki-jung-Shin Baek-cheol (Kor) 21-14, 22-20; Chai Biao-Zhang Nan (Chn) bt Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong (Kor) 21-12, 17-21, 21-14; Endo Hiroyuki-Hirobe Yoshiteru (Jpn) bt Alven Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan (Ina) 21-14, 21-7; Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (Chn) bt Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den) 21-16, 15-21, 21-18.
Women’s singles: Sung Ji-hyun (Kor) bt Yao Jie (Ned) 21-17, 21-18; Bae Seung-hee (Kor) bt Yip Pui Yin (Hkg) 21-19, 21-10; Kim Moon-hi (Kor) bt Chan Tsz Ka (Hkg) 21-13, 21-10; Wang Zhixian (Chn) bt Zhou Mi (Hkg) 21-18, 14-9 (rtd).
Women’s doubles: Cheng Shu-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Shizuka Matsuo-Mami Naito (Jpn) 21-9, 21-17; Ha Jung-eun-Lee Kyung-won (Kor) bt Choi Hye-in-Lee So-hee (Kor) 21-9, 21-3; Jung Kyung-eun-Yoo Hyunyoung (Kor) bt A. Duanganong-V Kunchala (Tha) 21-13, 21-17; Mizuki Fujii-Reika Kakiiwa (Jpn) bt Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn) 21-13, 21-14.
Mixed doubles: Tao Jiaming-Zhang Yawen (Chn) bt Thomas Laybourn-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den) 21-12, 21-15; Flandi Limpele-Cheng Wen-hsing (Ina-Tpe) bt A. Songphon-V. Kunchala (Tha) 21-18, 21-19; He Hanbin-Yu Yang (Chn) bt Ko Sung-hyun-Ha Jung-eun (Kor) 21-10, 21-17; Noriyasu Hirata-Miyuki Maeda (Jpn) bt Sudket Prapakamol-T.Saralee (Tha) 21-19, 21-15.