Zhu stands in way of Wang and second Indonesia title

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 May, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong's Wang Chen is just one step away from winning her second Indonesian Open singles title after defeating Petya Nedeltcheva of Bulgaria 2-1 in the semi-finals yesterday.

The 23-21, 14-21, 21-19 win put Wang, the 2005 champion, through to another showdown against number three seed Zhu Lin of China.

Wang has won all the three previous encounters against the mainlander on the open circuit, but lost in the bronze medal play-off at the 2005 National Games when she infamously pulled out of the match to protest against her alleged unfair treatment in China.

'It is difficult to predict the result of the final, especially in a Super Series event where most shuttlers are more or less on a par,' said Hong Kong coach Chan Chi-choi. 'On paper, Wang looks the better bet as she has never lost to Zhu in a full match. But the record tells you nothing. Whoever plays better on the court will win the final.'

Although the coach did not want to predict Wang's chances in the final, he was happy with the progress the 30-year-old has made.

'In the quarter-final against Zhang Ning and the semi against the Bulgarian, Wang each time came from behind to win. She might have thrown away these matches under similar circumstances before, but she has now become a tougher player, especially on the mental side,' said Chan.

The quarter-final win against Olympic champion Zhang gave Wang a tremendous morale boost. Wang had beaten Zhang only once before, in 1994, before losing to the mainlander in their next 12 encounters, with the last one in the semi-final of the 2006 China Open, where Zhang scored an easy 2-0 victory. Trailing Zhang 8-5 in the deciding set on Friday, Wang fought back to take the next six points and went on to clinch victory.

'My only worry is that she needed to go to three sets in the last two matches and physically she may be drained,' said Chan. 'Other than that, I have confidence that she can complete another good job.' Wang is the 2006 Doha Asian Games singles champion.