Indonesians on collision course
TOP-SEEDED Indonesians Heryanto Arbi and Allan Budi Kusuma look set to meet in the Nin Jiom Hong Kong Open Championships final after joint third seeds - Hermawan Susanto and Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen - met their Waterloo at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium yesterday.
Indonesia's Susanto, ranked fourth in the world, was beaten by Swede Thomas Johansson 15-9, 17-15 in the third round, while Denmark's Hoyer-Larsen went down 7-15, 15-6, 15-11 to Lee Kwang-jin of South Korea in the quarter-finals.
World number one Arbi marched into the semi-final with a 15-7, 17-14 victory over Denmark's Peter Rasmussen in the afternoon and then beat former teammate Fung Permadi, now playing out of Taiwan, 15-9, 15-8.
The 22-year-old defending champion, however, is not fully satisfied with his form, saying: 'I still haven't gone back to full training since pulling a thigh muscle in August and fortunately I haven't been fully pushed yet.
'Tomorrow will be a tough match, but I am confident, having beaten Lee Kwang-jin in our two meetings this year.' But Lee still vividly remembers how close he came to toppling the world number one at the Malaysian Open three months ago when he lost the decider 18-17.
The world number eight Korean is hopeful he can take advantage of Arbi's injury to exact revenge over the Indonesian ace.
Second-seeded Kusuma, the Barcelona Olympic Games gold medallist, powered his way into the semi-final with wins over China's Lin Liwen (15-7, 15-5) and South Korea's Ahn Jae-chang (15-11, 15-11).
Meeting Kusuma for a place in the final is Danish giant-killer Martin Lundgaard Hansen, who breezed past fifth-seeded South Korean Kim Hak-kyun 15-5, 15-5 in the third round.
Hansen, ranked 41st on the International Badminton Federation chart, then went on to beat Johansson 15-8, 11-15, 15-13 in the quarter-finals.
Women's defending champion Bang Soo-hyun of South Korea showed devastating form as she crushed Thailand's Pornswan Plungwech 11-2, 11-4 and Denmark's Camilla Martin 11-4, 11-5 yesterday.
Bang, however, can expect a tough semi-final from Sweden's Lim Xiaoqing, a former Chinese international, in a replay of last year's title match.