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Roundup: China's attempts to ensure four all-China finals frustrated
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12:04, August 19, 2007

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China's hope to secure four gold medals was dashed at the world badminton championships on Saturday.

Having booked 11 of 20 semifinal berths on Friday, China had chances to ensure four all-China finals in men's and women's singles, women's and mixed doubles.

However, they only grabbed one chance in women's doubles as Gao Ling/Huang Sui and Yang Wei/Zhang Jiewen set up an all-Chinese final.

Gao/Huang beat Kumiko Ogura/Reiko Shiota of Japan 21-16, 23-25, 21-6 while Athens Olympic champions Yang/Zhang beat compatriots Zhang Yawen/ Wei Yili 19-21, 21-18, 21-16 to secure a gold medal.

In men's singles semis, world number one Lin Dan defeated teammate Bao Chunlai 21-12, 22-20.

"The match was actually very tight as Bao is also eager for the champion. I did a good job in the opening game but in the second when I led 19-14, Bao played extremely well and cut the deficit. It got on my nerves. I told myself to calm down and finally wrapped up the match," said Lin.

Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia teased Chen Yu of China 18-21, 21-13, 21-15 to book the other final berth.

Wang Chen of Hong Kong, China, ousted world number one Zhang Ning of China 21-11, 21-15 to reach women's singles final.

Zhang, on its possible last worlds, said: "It's normal to lose to Wang Chen. My previous opponents are not tough enough but Wang is pretty tough. Wang is good at back court attack. This proved a tough challenge for me and restrained me. I tried to put on more attacks in the second but it didn't work."

Wang equaled her best worlds record and last time she went to the final was in 1997 when she lost to China's Ye Zhaoying.

"I was well prepared for the match and had enough patience. I focused more on Zhang's attacks and grabbed opportunities to earn points," said Wang. "Actually Zhang had no chances in the first game."

This is Wang's last worlds and the 31-year-old said: "I have not thought about Beijing Olympics yet."

In the other semifinal, 23-year-old Zhu Lin of China beat her compatriot Lu Lan 21-10, 21-13.

The previous encounter between the two Chinese girls was in 2006 South Korean Open when Lu pipped Zhu.

On Zhu's winning chances in the final, Zhang Ning said: "Technically speaking, Wang enjoys the advantage as she does well in controlling back court. And their previous records are also in favor of Wang."

World number one and two mixed doubles pairs will meet in the final at the world badminton championships.

Zheng Bo and Gao Ling, world number one and top seeds, came from behind to beat sixth seeded Indonesian Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa 17-21, 21-19, 21-19 to reach the final.

Gao, who went through the last match on Friday, edging Gail Emms/Donna Kellogg of England in women's doubles semifinal, suffered from fatigue.

"She played until late into the night, can not run fast and fail to control net play in the firstgame," said Zheng.

"From the second on, we changed our tactics, added net play and drop shots," Zheng said. "Limpele is over 30. His physical strength is not that good. He converted more mistakes in the last two games."

"After we lost the first game, Gao told me to give it all and this spurred me on to sticking to a tougher play," added Zheng.

Zheng/Gao played Limpele/Marissa only once in 2007 Sudirman Cup and beat the latter 19-21, 21-17, 21-19.

As for the other finalists Nova Widianto and Liyana Natsir, second seeds of Indonesia, Zheng said: "Since I paired up with Gao, we only lost to them once in 2007 Singapore Open."

Nova Widianto and Liyana Natsir ousted another Chinese duo Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen 21-15, 15-21, 22-20 in the other semifinal.

"I can not gather myself in the opening game," said Xie, who also entered men's doubles with Guo Zhendong. Theylost to Jung Jae Sung/Lee Yong Dae, South Korea 26-24, 17-21, 7-21 on Friday's semifinal. "Maybe I am too tired."

Nova Widianto regarded the match tough but didn't feel tired from the match.

On Zheng/Gao, Nova said: "Zheng is young and physically better than me. We should slow the rhythm in the final."

The Indonesia duo won the 2005 worlds.

"Since we are already world champions, we don't have pressure. Pressure is on them," added Nova.

In men's doubles semis, the only event China missed out, Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia fened off Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah of Malaysia 22-20, 28-26.

Jung Jae Sung/Lee Yong Dae, South Korea downed Shuichi Sakamoto/Shintaro Ikeda from Japan 21-16, 21-12.

On China's chances of winning the finals, head coach Li Yongbo said: "We enjoy advantages in the men's singles and mixed doubles but we are not sure about women's singles."

"Top seed Lin Dan has higher odds against Sony," he added. "Lin has not lost to Sony for long. Sony has improved remarkably in speed and tactics, but Lin is overall stronger."

Li regarded this worlds as Zheng Bo/Gao Ling's good preparation for the Olympic Games.

"The records are 3-1 in favor of Zheng/Gao," said Li.

However, Li is not sure about women's singles. "Wang Chen is a very good player in the world. She is surely anxious to win," he said.

As for Zhu Lin, Li said: "This is a new beginning for Zhu. She is still young and has bright prospects."

Source: Xinhua

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