Top seed Marin cruises into Hong Kong finals
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