China shuttlers beat Korean pair and advance to Hong Kong Open semis

Disqualified from the Olympics, pair moves a step closer to defending Hong Kong Open title

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 November, 2012, 3:06am

Former Olympic champion Yu Yang and her partner Wang Xiaoli put unhappy memories of London behind them as the two mainlanders stormed into the doubles semi-finals at the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open.

The pair, who lifted the 2011 world title, were 21-10, 21-19 victors over South Korea's Eom Hye-won and Jang Ye-na at the Coliseum in Hung Hom yesterday, although they were stretched in the second game.

"We still need some time to get back to our best," said Yu, the 2008 Beijing Games doubles champion when partnered with Du Jing. "We did not have any systematic training after the London Olympics and after going through five matches at last week's China Open, we were running out of stamina a bit in the second game.

"We do have to work hard on our fitness level but since there is only one match a day, we should have enough time to prepare for the semi-finals."

The second seeds and defending champions will meet Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito of Japan in the next round, and if it goes according to form they should take on Olympic champions Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei in the final.

The pair were favourite for London gold after lifting the world title a year ago at the Wembley Arena, the Olympics venue. But they were disqualified after being found guilty of failing to try their best in a group match in order to get a favourable draw in the knockout round.

"We forgot the London Olympics after it was over. We don't think about it anymore," said Yu, 26. "We are still young and there are many chances for us in future."

Wang, 23, said she is enjoying the game as much as ever and is eager to win her third consecutive doubles title in Hong Kong. She partnered Ma Jin to clinch the title in 2010 before joining forces with Yu last year.

In the men's singles, second seed Chen Long of China went through to the semis following a 21-16, 21-12 victory over Sho Sasaki of Japan. Widely touted as 'the next Lin Dan', he will meet Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia for a place in the final. The latter won 21-17, 19-21, 21-17 against Marc Zwiebler of Germany. Top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia survived a shaky second game to beat Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam 21-18, 21-19. "There were some problems in the second game as I haven't trained much since the Olympics. But I was able to hang in there till the end," said Lee, watched by wife Wong Mew Choo for the first time after they married two weeks ago. "Overall I am not too disappointed."

London Games women's singles champion Li Xuerui of China reached the semis after her opponent, Tine Baun of Denmark, withdrew from the match due to a right heel problem.