Open final to feature Hong Kong woman for first time in 21 years
Wang Chen and Zhou Mi reached the semi-finals of the Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open last night, ensuring that a home player will contest the women's final for the first time in the tournament's 21-year history.
Wang, 32, scored a hard-fought 27-25, 14-21, 21-15 victory over India's Saina Nehwal at Queen Elizabeth Stadium - reversing the result when the duo last met at the Beijing Games in August, when Wang lost in the second round to the 19-year-old.
'It was exhausting,' said Wang (pictured) after the gruelling 52-minute match. 'My stomach muscles are hurting, but I am very happy I was able to hang in there and win against a much younger player.'
World number one Zhou lived up to expectations, defeating Hong Kong teammate Yip Pui-yin 13-21, 21-16, 21-14 and will take on Wang in today's semi-finals.
The other semi-final will be an all-China-affair with Xie Xingfang playing Zhu Lin, a repeat of last year's final which Xie won 2-1.
Olympic silver medallist Xie, who is on track to win her third consecutive Hong Kong title, beat Petya Nedelcheva of Bulgaria 21-16, 21-12, while Zhu beat South Korea's Hwang Hye-youn 21-16, 21-13.
'My form is improving as the tournament progresses,' said Zhu. 'The next match is tricky as we both know each other very well. It's going to be a close game, that's for sure.'
In the men's singles, third seed and Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Chen Jin of China reached the semi-finals after thrashing compatriot Gong Weijie 21-8, 21-10. He will take on Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand, an Athens Games bronze medallist, today.
The other semi-final will be between Beijing Olympic champion Lin Dan of China and Indonesian Taufik Hidayat, the 2004 Athens Games gold medallist.
Lin, in pursuit of his fifth consecutive title in Hong Kong, was extended to three games before beating Park Sung-hwan of South Korea 21-16, 14-21, 21-13. Hidayat beat Hong Kong's up-and-coming Wong Wing-ki 21-15, 21-19.
In the men's doubles, Olympic gold medallists Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia failed to reach the last four, eliminated in straight games by Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia.