Chen Long-Chong Wei set up a repeat of Rio Olympics men's singles final in Hong Kong Open
( *Credit image : Free Malaysia Today)
It is a dream men's singles final in this year's Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open Superseries in Kowloon between China's Chen Long and Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei after the duo won their semi-final matches in contrasting style on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Chen Long, the reigning Olympic champion, was taken the full distance before prevailing 21-14, 19-21, 21-17 against young Anders Antonsen of Denmark in a marathon 86-minutes.
On the other hand Chong Wei strolled to an easy 21-19, 21-8 win over Chinese youngster Shi Yuqi in only 39 minutes to set up the dream final.
Chen Long goes into the final - his second in two weeks after winning last week's Tahoe China Open Superseries Premier in Fuzhou.
For Chong Wei it is only his third superseries final this year after winning the Yonex All-England in March (he beat Shi Yuqi for his fourth All-England title) and finishing runners-up in the Japan Open in September.
Chen Long's 21-18, 21-18 win over Chong Wei in the Rio Olympics final is still fresh in the minds of the badminton fraternity.
It was Chong Wei's third Olympics silver medal after falling to Lin Dan in Beijing (2008) and London (2012) while Chen Long won his first Olympic gold.
Age is against the 35-year-old Malaysian but it stops at that for the former world number one who has no plans just yet to quit.
Chong Wei and Chen Long go into the final on equal footing with the head-to-head count standing at 13-13 in their previous 26 meetings.
Chong Wei, the number eight seed, has won the Hong Kong Open four times - in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2015.
The women's singles final will be a repeat of last year's final between top seed and world number one Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei and second seed P.V. Sindhu of India. Tzu Ying leads 7-3 in the head to head count and will be looking for her fifth superseries title this year.
Sindhu will be gunning for her third superseries title after winning the India Open and the Korea Open. She also won the silver medal in this year's World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland in August.
In the semi-finals on Saturday it was a three-game battle for Tzu Ying against South Korean third seed Sung Ji-hyun. Tzu Ying won 21-9, 18-21, 21-7. Sindhu, who was beaten 15-21, 17-21 in last year's final, stopped former world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand with a 21-17, 21-17.
The men's doubles final is also attracting much focus with top seeds and world number one Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia gunning for their sixth title in eight finals.
The Indonesians will face European challenge from Denmark's Mads Conrad-Petersen-Mads Pieler Kolding in the final.
In the semi-finals the Indonesian snuffed out China's fourth seeds Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen 21-13, 16-21, 21-13 while the sixth seeded Danes struggled to a 20-22, 22-20, 21-15 win over Japan's Takuto Inoue-Yuki Kaneko in 72 minutes.
China and Indonesia will feature in the women's doubles final with top seeds Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan taking on Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu.
The mixed doubles final will be between China's Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong and Denmark's Mathias Christiansen-Christinna Pedersen.
RESULTS (All semi-finals)
Chen Long (CHN) beat Anders Antonsen (DEN) 21-14, 19-21, 21-17
Lee Chong Wei (MAS) beat Shi Yuqi (CHN) 21-19, 21-8
Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) beat Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (CHN) 21-13, 16-21, 21-13
Mads Conrad-Petersen-Mads Pieler Kolding (DEN) beat Takuto Inoue-Yuki Kaneko (JPN) 20-22, 22-20, 21-15
Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) beat Sung Ji-hyun (KOR) 21-9, 18-21, 21-7
P.V. Sindhu (IND) beat Ratchanok Intanon (THA) 21-17, 21-17
Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (CHN) beat Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai (THA) 21-19, 21-19
Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu (INA) beat Huang Dongping-Li Wenmei (CHN) 11-21, 23-21, 21-15
Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (CHN) beat Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (CHN) 21-10, 21-18
Mathias Christiansen-Christinna Pedersen (DEN) beat Takuro Hoki-Sayaka Hirota (JPN) 21-15, 22-20