French Open: Tang/Tse on Cloud Nine

Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet continued their brilliant YONEX French Open 2023 form as they defeated second seeds Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino 21-19 21-18 in the semifinals.

In doing so, they created history by becoming the first mixed pair from Hong Kong China to reach a French Open final. The tandem ousted several top pairs along the way, including Denmark Open winners Feng Yan Zhe/Huang Dong Ping and Goh Soon Huat/Lai Shevon Jemie.

“This is unforgettable,” Tse said. “We’ve surprised ourselves with our form this week.”

Close at 18-18 in the first game and 19-19 in the second, Tang/Tse stayed composed to secure their win in straight games.

“The points were close. Our coach told us to calm down and not think about winning or losing. Just take things point-by-point,” Tang added.

At Tokyo 2020, Tang/Tse lost to the same Japanese pair in the bronze medal playoff. They ended 2021 strongly with semifinal appearances at the French Open, World Championships and World Tour Finals. They were also runners-up at the Indonesia Masters. The following season, however, their best result was quarterfinals at five events.

The title bout spot in Rennes coming weeks after finishing second at the Hong Kong Open, something seems to be finally clicking for the world No.18s, just as the Olympic qualifying period enters the final six months.

“Last year was a difficult one for us. We went from sixth to 26th in the world and that was hard to get through. It’s important to keep my mindset and work harder. You can’t sit back and be satisfied with yourself. There’s always work to be done,” said Tse.

Tang and Tse are picking up form again.

Tai Tzu Ying survived her biggest test of the tournament against Aya Ohori as she defeated the red-hot Japanese shuttler 20-22 21-10 22-20 in 72 minutes. Rather surprisingly, the Olympic silver medallist was last in a Super 750 final four years ago at the 2019 Denmark Open.

“It’s been a while. The top two seeds (An Se Young and Akane Yamaguchi) are not here but I’m happy about being in the final,” the Chinese Taipei shuttler smiled post-match.

Asked about video preparation not being her thing for match analysis, Tai said: “I didn’t watch the video of Ohori but I did watch her match against (Carolina) Marin in the arena and I was looking at what she was doing. She’s made huge improvements and I admire her patience.”

Tai contests Chen Yu Fei for the crown after the Chinese star defeated reigning champion He Bing Jiao 22-20 19-21 21-9.

Tai through to her third French Open final.

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