Friday, March 6, 2009

YONEX ALL ENGLAND – Taufik Avenges French Final Defeat

Taufik Hidayat beat Peter Gade today in two sets to avenge his defeat in the French Super Series final last Novemeber and did it on the 10th Anniversary of the their famous 1999 final where Gade won his one and only All England title.

By Mark Phelan (Live) Photos: (Live in Birmingham)

Taufik Hidayat today booked his All England semi final berth as he controlled his way to a two set win over Peter Gade and takes one step closer to realising his dream of winning the All England, the one major tournament that has eluded him.
Both players started the match cautiously and their mutual respect was evident as they each tried to find a way to break the others resolve. The control of first set drifted back and forth between the two giants of world badminton and it was Taufik who made the decisive move as while Gade held a slender lead of a single point at 16-15. With some delicate lifts and drops the Indonesian moved Gade around the court and won 4 points without reply to take a 19-16 lead. Taufik continued to drive home is end of set dominance and secured the final two points to take the opening set 21-17 and leave Gade with an uphill battle if he was to take as step in securing his second All England title.
In the second set the tide continued to swap both sides of the net in much the same way as the first. The game was clearly a tactical battle between two amazing exponents of the game as long rallies were the order of that day as both attempted to find an opening to smash home a winner. Gade led at 14-12 and appeared to have found his tactical feet but Taufik then stepped up a gear and won five points to leave Gade battling just to survive. The Indonesian maintained his advantage for the remainder of the set and took the set 21-18 to advance to tomorrow’s semi final where he will now play world number 1 Lee Choong Wei.

“It is hard to believe that that it is 10 years since I played Peter here in the final on this very court. Things are much different now we are different players and both of us are a lot older. Today was a tactical game, not much power but a lot of head play. I’m more motivated now and the power to win comes from inside. Tomorrow will be a different game but I’m fitter now and my form is better.” Said a delighted Taufik after his quarter final victory.

In the women’s singles Nanna Brosolat Jensen continued her fairy tale All England journey as she displayed a new found maturity to defeat yet another higher ranked player in Julia Pei Xian Wong of Malaysia. The qualifier from Denmark has blossomed in this tournament and was tactically aware on court today to leave her opponent with no answers as she ran out a rather comfortably 21-16 21-16 winner.

“I knew I had a chance today as I have been playing well. I believe more now that I can win but like yesterday I tried not to put to much pressure on myself. I tried my best to stay calm and im aware that I have now played 5 matches since Tuesday. I actually feel fine physically but mentally I’m beginning to feel the strain.” Said Brosolat after her win

In the men’s doubles Cai and Fu from China sent out clear warning signals to all their competitors in beating 2003 World Champions Passke and Rasmussen from Denmark. The Danes, who have been together since 2001, had few answers to the power of the Chinese and were always playing catch up as the Chinese revelled in their new found enthusiasm after their post Olympic break. In the first the Chinese powered their way to a 21-17 win and they followed that up with a thoroughly convincing 21-16 win in the second. On the evidence of this display it would be a fool that would dare bet against the Chinese from adding another All England to the title they last won in 2005.

“We have been together for 7 years so we don’t need much practise to get back to our best. Right now I think we are at about 80% of our best. This is a really good venue and we feel relaxed here as we have been coming here for many years. The break did us good and we are back now together and are very enthusiastic.
I don’t think the Danes played especially well today as they made a lot of errors but the standard here in the men’s doubles is very high so the tournament does not suffer at all with the loss of Kido and Setiawan.” Said a confident Cai (photo right) after there comfortable win over the Danes.

Elsewhere English dreams and aspirations were ended rather prematurely as both Wallwork/White and Clark/Kellogg exited the All England stage on TV day number 1. Chen Jin was made work hard for a quarter final victory as he was stretched to three sets against Sho Sasaki from the Japan. It took a match point net foul from the Japanese shuttler to see the reigning champion over the line and he will count himself fortunate to be lining out in tomorrows semi final.