World number one and top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia crashed out of the Yonex World Championships, losing to Indonesian Taufik Hidayat in the quarterfinals at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris.
It was an indifferent performance from Chong Wei who clearly was not his usual self, opting to play at a slow pace that suited Taufik. Perhaps the pressure of not winning the world title got to the Malaysian, who made numerous unforced errors in the
Chong Wei trailed 12-16 at one stage in the first set as Taufik showed plenty of class and was clearly making use the full length of the court. And the Indonesian went on to seal the first set 21-15. Chong Wei bounced back to take the second set 21-11 and was growing in confidence as Taufik showed signs of tiredness.
Although Chong Wei was leading 10-6 in the decider, Taufik clawed back to go into an 11-10 lead. And he never looked back to seal a berth in the semis with a 21-12 win.
In another men’s singles quarterfinals, Chen Jin defeated Hsueh Hsuan Ji of Chinese Taipei to book his place in the last four where he is likely to meet Peter Hoeg Gade.
Chen Jin was shocked by a determined Hsueh who won 24-22 despite being behind for most of the set. But he came back strongly to win the second 21-5 and went on to win the third 21-13 for his semis spot.
Top seeds in the men’s doubles, Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong also went through to the semis after a come from behind win over Lee Hong Dae/Jung Jae Sung.
Jung/Lee won the first set after an epic struggle, 25-23, with the Malaysians rallying from 18-20 to draw level but failed to capitalize despite holding serve at set point twice.
But the Malaysian were on song in the second, romping to a 21-13 win to take the match into a decider. And they went on to win the decider 21-14.
“We went in there and played our game without thinking of our past meetings against them,” said Koo in obvious reference to the eight defeats in a row at the hands of the Koreans.
“We should have been more careful in the first set but were poor in defending and we hope to make it all the way to Sunday’s final.”
The Malaysians will take on Xu Chen/Guo Zhendong of China in the semis and hold a 2-1 wins record over them.
In the women’s singles, Tine Baun of Denmark qualified for the semi finals after fending off a spirited challenge from Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Shao Chieh 21-18, 21-13.
And giant killer Eriko Hirose of Japan, who had beaten the top seed Wang Yihan in the third round, met her match in anther Chinese player, Wang Lin and lost 16-21, 17-21.
Down 8-11, Cheng changed her shoes as she had blisters on her feet that started bleeding and was limping on the court. On top of that Cheng was also affected by a thigh injury that she suffered prior to the tournament and it was aggravated in her third round match.
Though the pain was unbearable, she still showed tremendous fighting spirit as she rallied for every point, never letting the injury affect her game.
“I played on as I could still walk so there was no question of throwing in the towel for me,” said Cheng.
“I gave it all that I had but things could have been different had I not suffered from this injury.
But Tine was just too good and despite the gallant efforts of the Chinese Taipei girl, the Dane went on to win.
“I just concentrated on my game and paid no attention to the opponent as I had to play my own game and not get distracted,” said Tine.
“I was not sure of the extent of her injury as she looked fine in the rallies and so I just went on doing my usual stuff on the court.”