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21 Sep, 2019
For the neutrals & the fans alike, the penultimate day at Victor China Open 2019 produced some epic semi-final clashes in both the singles & the doubles events. For both the men’s & women’s finals spots, all the matches went the distance and each one was a titanic clash.
Defending Champion Carolina Marin produced a stirring performance against Sayaka Takahashi of Japan, as she came back from behind to seal her second straight finals appearance at the China Open.
Marin made a quick start and raced ahead in the early exchanges of the opening game, but Takahashi kept pegging away at the lead. At 16-12, Marin looked to have done enough to take the opening game but a string of six straight points by Takahashi put the Japanese challenger in the lead. Marin did manage to close the gap and at 20-20, either player could have taken the game, it was Takahashi who had the momentum and closed out the opening game.
In the second game, it was Takahashi who made the more confident start leading 6-10 at one stage. Carolina had to take her chances and she did so in emphatic manner with 8 straight points.
That more or less sealed the game in the Spaniard’s favour and set up a mouth-watering decider.
An early lead for Carolina sets the tone for the third game, as she stayed in front most of the game. At 20-14, Carolina had six match points, four of which Takahashi managed to save. But in the end Carolina Marin kept her composure and sealed the match with a winner. As both players collapsed, the crowd had witnessed an absolutely epic encounter lasting an hour and twelve minutes long.
Carolina Marin, making a comeback from the injury, and just playing in her second tournament since January will be exceptionally pleased with both her performance and endurance. She will take on Tai Tzu Ying in the finals, after the second seed got the better of third seeded Chen Yu Fei in the second semi-finals.
It was Chen who made the more confident start, racing away to a 5-nil lead in the opening game. Tai, barely, had a look in the opening game as Chen closed it within no time. The second game started off on a more even kneel Tai Tzu looked more assertive. She established a lead at the halfway mark and then went on to close the game with relative ease.
The decider was always going to be cagey, and the players remained locked at 8-8 – exchanging the lead alternatively. Chen Yu Fei, then made her move with a string of 7 points, but Tai was not letting this go easily as she fought her way back to 16-all. With neither player looking to give up, Chen Yu Fei had the first crack at a game point but failed to convert the same.
In the end, it was Tai Tzu who held her nerve and took the match to deny Chen Yu Fei her second straight appearance at the China Open finals. A 6-21 21-13 22-20 win in just under an hour, set-up a fantastic final for the women’s singles between Carolina Marin & Tai Tzu Ying.
For the men’s singles, it will be a repeat of the 2018 final between Kento Momota & Anthony Sinsuka Ginting. Kento Momota took on fifth seed Chen Long in the first of the semi-finals. The world number #1 Momota made a more confident start and stayed ahead at 11-8 heading into the mid-game interval. At 19-15, Momota was on course to take the first game, but Long had different ideas. He reeled off six straight points to close the game having trailed most of the time.
The second game was saw a more cagey start, with both players locked in at 5-5 in the initial stages. Chen then made a move with four straight points, only to be pegged back by Momota with six straight points of his own. Tied 18-all, Long definitely fancied his chances of closing the match but Momota peeled off three straight points to force a decider.
The third game followed a similar pattern as the second and both players exchanged the lead back and forth. Chen had a slender lead at 15-14, and Momota took six points on the bounce to make it to the second straight final.
Anthony Ginting & Anders Antonsen competed in the second semi-final and the first game was a very close affair. Tied 16-all, it was anyone’s game. And Anders Antonsen made it count with five straight points. The loss in the first game, looked to have spurred Anthony as he rocketed to a 7-2 lead before taking the game 21-5.
In the third game, Anthony once again made a fast start and remained ahead right through the game. A 18-21 21-5 21-14 victory gives Indonesian a second straight China Open finals appearance.
For the doubles finals, Mixed Doubles will be an all-Chinese affair between top seeds Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong v second seeds Wang Yi Lyu/Huong Dong Ping. In the women’s doubles, fourth seeds Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan will play the seed seeded Japanese pair of Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi. And finally for the men’s doubles crown it will be the top two seeds, an all-Indonesian affair between Marcus Fernaldi/Kevin Sanjaya v Mohammed Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan.