Taiwan’s World No. 2 Chou Tien-chen smashed his way into the semi-finals in the men’s singles at the Danisa Denmark Open on Friday after a seven-month hiatus from international competition amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second-seeded Chou has had an impressive run since the restart and proved to be a formidable opponent against fifth-seeded former champion Srikanth Kidambi of India at the Odense Sports Park, pocketing a 20-22, 21-13, 21-16 victory in a quarter-final match that lasted 62 minutes.
Kidambi, ranked No. 14 in the world, previously clinched the men’s singles title at the Denmark Open in 2017.
A slow start gave the Indian a 7-10 lead before Chou caught up with five consecutive points raising the score to 12-10 in the first set.
The Taiwanese shuttler showed his physical prowess by moving strongly around the court, putting pressure on his opponent, who was exposed on the backhand.
Chou did his best to not let Kidambi claim the net as the Indian tried to pin the Taiwanese ace in the backcourt before setting himself up for a powerful smash. Good defense by both created long rallies, with one counting as many as 45 shots.
Despite Chou polishing his game toward the end of the first set, it was Kidambi who pocketed it.
Chou put on a stunning performance in the second set by refusing to play to the tune of his opponent, creating good angles for cross-court shots.
Chou added power-packed smashes that put Kidambi’s stamina to the test, while a few too many unforced errors from the Indian’s racket practically handed the set to Chou, who made quick some swift cross-court saves.
In the deciding set, Chou stuck to his plan of digging deep and taking sharp shots in the front court.
In what was almost a replay of the second set, Chou dominated the deciding round, with the last shot landing on the line a cue for his customary roar upon victory.
The win gave Chou a head-to-head record of 6-1 against Kidambi, dating to their first meeting at the Hong Kong Open in 2014, where Kidambi won.
Chou was to play third-seeded World No. 3 Anders Antonsenin of Denmark in the semi-finals. That match began shortly before press time last night.
Chou’s previous matches at the tournament were a 21-16, 21-11 first-round win over Victor Svendsen of Denmark and a 21-8, 21-16 victory over Nhat Nguyen of Ireland in the quarter-finals.
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