Strategic adjustment pays off

China’s Wang Yihan celebrating after her hard-fought 10-21, 21-19, 21-12 win over Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in the quarter-finals of the OUE Singapore Open yesterday. She meets Taiwanese Tai Tzu-ying next.

TWO-TIME defending women's singles champion Wang Yihan booked her spot in the OUE Singapore Open semi-finals after surviving a gruelling 66-minute examination by Thailand's world No. 8 Ratchanok Intanon at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

One day after China's world No. 1 Chen Long was knocked out in the last 16 of the men's singles by Hong Kong's Hu Yun, his team-mate Wang looked to be on the way out after conceding the first game 10-21 to the indefatigable Intanon, who pranced around the court easily with superb footwork and dominated with some deft drop shots.

But, after composing herself at the break, Wang ironed out her mistakes and pushed her opponent further to the baseline multiple times to take the second game 21-19. She carried the momentum into the rubber game, and eventually prevailed 21-12.

Said the world No. 7, who plays Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu-ying next: "My opponent was more prepared, because every time I play her, it's not easy. I made some adjustments to my strategy and was more confident (after that)."

Team-mates Wang Shixian and Sun Yu are in the other semi-final.

Men's champion Simon Santoso also booked a spot in the final four after beating Thailand's world No. 19 Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-10, 21-19.

Said the Indonesian, who faces Japan's Kento Momota next: "All of the opponents are very good and it won't be an easy battle. My strategy is to take it one match at a time and to be focused."

Hong Kong's world No. 13 Hu continued his fine run, beating China's world No. 12 and 2009 junior world champion Tian Houwei 17-21, 21-18, 21-10.

The 33-year-old bounced back from a lacklustre first game to beat Tian, 23, with a strong net game and quick-fire smashes.

Hu, who will play India's Parupalli Kashyap for a spot in tomorrow's final, said: "While he is weaker than Chen and Tian on paper, to reach the semis, he must be in good form. I cannot take it lightly."

Singapore's mixed doubles pair of Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo failed to reach their first Superseries semi-final after losing 10-21, 14-21 to Indonesia's 2013 world champion pair Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir.

Said Neo: "We didn't stick to our strategy, and ended up playing two different games. I was also a little rattled after the first set... we have to (iron out) the mistakes before the SEA Games."

This article was first published on Apr 11, 2015.
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