Chen Yu Fei Pushed – Indonesia Open: Day 4

Pre-tournament favourite Chen Yu Fei was tested for the second successive day of this year’s BLIBLI Indonesia Open 2019, pushed to a 21-14 17-21 21-16 result by USA’s Beiwen Zhang.

It followed a 15-21 21-17 21-12 escape against Sayaka Takahashi of Japan in the round of 16 yesterday.

Match of the Session

Zhang on the attack.

With the pressure of being China’s last player in the men’s and women’s singles draw following yesterday’s events in which He Bing Jiao and Chen Long both lost and Shi Yu Qi withdrew due to injury – plus the earlier exit of Kento Momota’s giant-killer Huang Yu Xiang – Chen was able to tip-toe her way through a tight encounter against a relentless Zhang.

The winner of the first Super 1000 event of the season in Birmingham, Chen took the first game of the quarterfinal in Jakarta 21-14 in seemingly effortless fashion.

However, Zhang raised the bar in the second and caught Chen out in and around the net. It was the first meeting between the pair and Zhang’s style and deft of touch certainly gave her the advantage as she closed it out 21-17.

As the match reached a crescendo, Chen was able to create a buffer at 15-12 in the decider. Zhang kept nibbling away and won crucial points to make it 15-14. But that was the end of her challenge as the No. 2 held her nerve to win through to the final four.

Chen said of her performance: “It was the first time we met. I was not familiar with her play.

“I had some difficulties in the second game, both with her style and also the slow shuttlecock.

“Whoever I play next I will do my best to prepare for the contest.”

Last Indonesian Hope Knocked Out

Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen overcame a poor head-to-head record against Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie to reach the men’s singles semifinals with a 16-21 21-18 21-14 victory.

It was a reversal of the Asian Games 2018 final held at the same venue.

Christie held an 8-1 record ahead of the encounter including victory in the Asian Games final at the very same arena 12 months’ ago.

But Chou, fresh off a strong showing against Lin Dan yesterday, overpowered Christie in the deciding game to deflate the home crowd hopes.

Christie said afterwards: “The result is quite unfortunate because in the second game I led and I could not utilise the opportunity. Then in the last game Chou was more confident.”

Chou’s sole victory over the Indonesian prior to today was at the Sudirman Cup in May this year.

Chou, now the only seed left in the men’s singles draw, takes on Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen for a place in the final.

Wangcharoen reached his first Super 1000 semifinal with a clinical 21-10 21-17 win against Huang Yu Xiang earlier in the day.

It will be a tough task for the Thai, however, with Chou holding a 3-0 lead.

Honours Even

Japan and Korea split their women’s doubles quarterfinals in two lopsided affairs.

Top seeds Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara were bundled out by Korean sixth seeds Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan 21-13 21-11 in 35 minutes.

Misaki Matsumoto and Ayaka Takahashi restored pride with an equally impressive 21-17 21-9 demolition over Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong.

The semifinal should be a closer affair with Lee and Shin edging the head-to-head 5-4.

Other Results

  • Tai Tzu Ying and Ratchanok Intanon produced another enthralling display in the first match on court. The current world No.1 composed herself after a second game slump (16-21) to take the decider 21-12.

  • Favoured sons Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan withstood a fierce comeback from fifth seeds Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe to take their quarterfinal 21-15 9-21 22-20 in 63 minutes.
  • It was not so good news for Indonesia’s mixed doubles pairing of Tontowi Ahmad/Winny Oktavina Kandow. They lost to in-form Malaysian duo Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying 21-11 14-21 21-14.

The Equation

Hopes of an all-Indonesian men’s doubles final are still alive.

Should Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto win their quarterfinal this evening, they will take on Ahsan/Setiawan in the final four, while top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo progressed with straight games win over Ou Xuan Yi/Zhang Nan.

There has not been an all-Indonesian men’s doubles final since 2005 when Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan defeated Candra Wijaya/Sigit Budiarto.

Talking Point

“I hope the injury I suffered in my match against [Hans-Kristian Solberg] Vittinghus yesterday does not get worse.” – Jonatan Christie

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