Top seed Marin cruises into Hong Kong fi­nals

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

HONG KONG: Two-time world cham­pion Carolina Marin of Spain beat Chi­nese for­mer world num­ber one Wang Yi­han yes­ter­day for a place in the fi­nals at the Hong Kong Open. The cur­rent world num­ber one dis­missed Yi­han in straight sets 21-18, 21-16 tak­ing her a step closer to her sixth big ti­tle of the year. Marin fell in the semi-fi­nals at last year’s tour­na­ment, but has since had a strong year, tak­ing the world ti­tle in Au­gust and shoot­ing up the rank­ings to num­ber one af­ter start­ing 2015 ranked eighth. “A lot of things I (have) changed in my game, in my mind and, of course, how I see the tour­na­ment-that I want to win the ti­tle,” Marin said af­ter she booked a place in her eighth fi­nal of the sea­son. “I think the im­por­tant thing is I keep my fo­cus on all my train­ing. This is the key of my game.”

Marin will face ei­ther Thai­land’s Ratchanok In­tanon-who was the youngest ever world cham­pion when she took the ti­tle in 2013 — or No­zomi Okuhara of Ja­pan in to­day’s fi­nal. Okuhara beat Marin in the semi-fi­nals of last year’s Hong Kong Open, but then failed to take the ti­tle, while Ratchanok has over­come the Spa­niard in all of their pre­vi­ous four meet­ings. In the men’s com­pe­ti­tion, Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei faces gi­ant-slayer An­gus Ng later to fight for a place in the fi­nal.

Hong Kong young­ster Ng downed Lee’s neme­sis Chi­nese bad­minton leg­end Lin Dan in the sec­ond round, making him an overnight home­town hero. For­mer world num­ber one Lee is on a win­ning streak af­ter tak­ing back-to-back ti­tles in China and France as he has made a strong come­back to the cir­cuit fol­low­ing an eight-month dop­ing ban ear­lier this year. China’s Tian Houwei, ranked tenth in the world, se­cured his place in the fi­nals, beat­ing lit­tle-known qual­i­fier Gint­ing An­thony of In­done­sia 18-21, 21-11, 21-6. Tian has a strong record against both of his po­ten­tial co-fi­nal­ists. He beat Lee in their only pre­vi­ous meet­ing in 2013, and has downed Ng three times in as many matches.—AFP

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