Home favourite Yip Pui-yin advanced to third round of the Hong Kong Open Super Series yesterday, setting up a clash with Saina Nehwal of India three weeks after they met at the Asian Games in Guangzhou.
The Hong Kong No 1 (pictured) was at her best last night, upsetting seventh seed Bae Youn-joo of South Korea 2-0 (21-17, 21-10), giving the 2,000 fans at Queen Elizabeth Stadium much to cheer.
'It was a nice performance and the support of the fans played an important role,' Yip said. 'I did not expect to finish off the opponent in two games, but I really played very well tonight, never panicked no matter whether I was leading or behind, and approached every rally with great patience.'
Her performance also earned high praise from coach Wang Chen, who said Yip was in total control of the match.
'She was a bit tense before the match because even our former top player Zhou Mi has never beaten Bae before,' Wang said. 'But tonight she was exceptional. Her smash, drop shot and speed were all dominant.'
The 23-year-old will face another tough test in the HK$1.9 million tournament when she takes on second seed Nehwal, who beat Salakjit Ponsana of Thailand 21-10, 21-12.
'I beat Nehwal to win a bronze medal at the Asian Games, but I won't take things for granted because of that result,' Yip said. 'She is an even better player than Bae and I need another great performance.'
Also making it to the quarter-finals were women's doubles pair Tse Ying-suet and Poon Lok-yan, who defeated Rena Wang and Iris Wang of the United States 21-11, 21-15. The Hong Kong duo face an uphill task however, as they meet Wang Xiaoli and Yu Wang of China today.
In the men's singles, top seed and world No1 Lee Chong-wei of Malaysia moved a step closer to taking on arch-rival Lin Dan of China in the semi-finals. Both players reached the quarters after defeating Wang Zhengming of China and Shon Wan-Ho of South Korea, respectively.
Women's singles top seed Wang Xin of China, meanwhile, is looking for a good result to boost her hopes of playing in next month's Super Series final. The 25-year-old eased past Tai Tzu-Ying of Taiwan yesterday (21-18, 21-10), and meets Pi Hongyan of France in the quarters.
Though Wang is third in the Super Series rankings, mainland players occupy all top four positions, and only two entries are allowed. The final, in Taipei on January 5 to 9, features the top eight players after the 12-round Super Series, with total prize money of HK$3.9 million.