Sun, Aug 29, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Taiwanese reach two badminton semi-finals

STAFF WRITER, WITH AP AND CNA, PARIS

Taiwanese players Chien Yu-chin, left, and Cheng Wen-hsing return a shot in the women’s doubles quarter-finals in Paris on Friday.

PHOTO: AFP

Taiwan’s Chien Yu-chin admitted to being tired at the end of play on Friday at this year’s World Badminton Championships in Paris, but she wasn’t complaining after reaching the semi-finals of both the women’s and mixed doubles.

Although she and her mixed doubles partner Lee Sheng-mu were beaten by China’s He Hanbin and Yu Yang, 21-13, 21-8, Chien was excited for the women’s doubles match last night.

Chien and partner Cheng Wen-hsing are seeded third in the women’s doubles and are considered Taiwan’s most serious threat for a top showing in badminton’s most prestigious annual tournament.

They reached the final four with a 21-14, 21-17 victory over eighth-seeded Hyun Young-yoo and Jung Kyung-eur of South Korea.

The pair, the only team not from China left in the event, were to face second seeds Du Jing and Yu Yang in the semi-finals.

Both Chien and Cheng voiced excitement about the win — their best-ever performance at the World Championships — and said they looked forward to battling Du and Yu, whom they have never beaten.

“We’ll be able to just let loose tomorrow,” Cheng said.

Earlier in the day, Chien partnered with Lee in mixed doubles to stun the 10th-seeded Chinese duo of Tao Jiaming and Chang Yawen 14-21, 21-18, 21-17 in 57 minutes, considered a marathon in badminton.

It was the third come-from-­behind three-set match the 16th seeds have played in four matches, with their only straight set win coming against seventh-seeded South Koreans Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung in the third round.

That sent them into the quarter-finals against Tao and Chang.

Hoping to continue their surprise run, Chien vowed not to give in to fatigue.

“I’m very tired, but the whole point of coming out to play in a tournament is to not go home empty-handed,” she said.

Lee also had a chance to reach a second semi-finals in the men’s doubles, but he and Fang Chieh-min, seeded sixth in the event, fell to second seeds Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia 21-14, 21-14 in 31 minutes.

Taiwan’s last two singles players at the World Championships also were eliminated in the ­quarter-finals of their respective events on Friday.

In men’s singles, unseeded Hsueh Hsuan-yi shocked fourth-seeded Chen Jin of China by winning the first set, but was unable to maintain the momentum and eventually lost their quarter-final encounter 22-24, 21-5, 21-13 in 64 minutes.

In women’s singles, unseeded Cheng Shao-chieh fell to fourth-seeded Tine Baun of Denmark 21-18, 21-13 in 34 minutes.

Cheng won the Yonex Open Chinese Taipei earlier this month, and continued her good form with wins over the 14th and eighth seeds at the World Championships in Paris before succumbing to Baun.

Baun stretched her winning streak to 17 matches.

Cheng, a bronze medalist in 2005, was limping badly after ­injuring her feet during a third-round match and her socks were stained with blood as she changed her shoes with the score standing at 11-8.

Despite the injury, Cheng managed to level at 18-18 in the first.

Baun then jumped to a 7-2 lead in the second set before coasting to victory.

“Sometimes she made it really hard for me,” Baun said. “When we played rallies, she was all fit and she was running all over, she didn’t give up. You just have to stay focused all the time. I knew we were playing for the medal at the worlds.”

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