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Semifinal berths decided in badminton team tourney at National Games

QINGDAO: All semifinal berths have been decided in badminton team competitions at the China`s 11th National Games here on Saturday.

Prior to Saturday evening`s competition, Hubei, Guangdong, Hunan and Jiangsu have entered women`s team semis while Jiangsu made men`s semis.

Chen Hong, former world No. 1 and men`s singles bronze medallist at last National Games, spearheaded Fujian but gave way to Wang Zhengming 19-21, 19-21.

"I am younger than Chen so I just played hard, tried to restrain his attack and dominate the net," Wang said after the match.

Fujian won the following first doubles and second singles matches but lost second doubles match. In the decider, Chen Long, serving as Fujian`s third singles player, defeated Zhu Pengxiang in a comfortable way 21-12, 21-14, helping Fujian to a 3-2 victory and thus winning the semi berth.

"My victory is no big deal. I just made up for my loss yesterday," said Chen, who is a rising talent and has beaten big names like Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and Hidayat Taufik of Indonesia this year.

Guangdong also entered the semis by virtue of their better match difference against other teams.

Bao Chunlai, world No. 15 and China`s No. 3 singles player, represented Hunan and beat Gao Huan of Liaoning 21-19, 21-9, but failed to save Hunan from losing to Liaoning 3-2. Liaoning won a semi ticket thanks to their better win-loss records against Shanghai, who took down Guangxi 3-2.

"I was affected by wind in the first set but managed to adjust to it in the second," said Bao.

Bao was the men`s singles runner-up in the 10th National Games, losing to Lin Dan in the final. "Obviously I will put more attention to my singles tour," added Bao, who was reluctant to give more details on his goal.

Lin, world No. 2, pipped Chen Tianyu of Beijing 21-13, 21-11 and set a good start for People Liberation Army, who managed to wrap up the 3-1 victory.

"My opponent is the toughest in my past three matches so I prepared well for the match," said Lin. "And the match is very important, which decides which team will enter the quarterfinals, so I did give it all. If we don`t play the fifth match, we will stand a good chance of entering the quarters."

For the women`s part, Hubei beat Zhejiang to win the last berth of semis.

After two losses in the first singles and the first doubles matches, Zhejiang was put on the cliff as another loss meant they can not reach the semis. Then current women`s singles world No. 1 Wang Lin defeated Chen Xi of Hubei to earn one point for Zhejiang. However, former world champion Gao Ling and Wei Yili dashed the hopes of Zhejiang by pipping Li Xiao and Shen Xiaobo, helping Hubei to the victory of 3-1.

"As our doubles cannot challenge Hubei, three singles players are under great pressure," Wang explained their loss.

Olympic runner-up Xie Xingfang outplayed Cheng Wen of Hunan 21-15, 21-13, putting Guangdong on the right track for the 3-0 victory.

"I have been taking up systematic training with Guangdong team," the 28-year-old said. "We are working hard to play each match no matter how strong our rival is."

Apart from Xie, Guangdong also has Olympic women`s doubles champions Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen. They are eyeing for the team champion to better their second placing in the last National Games.

Hosts Shandong notched up their first match by frustrating Fujian 3-2. Liu Jie, serving as Shandong`s first singles player, said: "We played a better match than before."

Shanghai, who reserved big names like Wang Yihan and Zhu Lin, lost to Liaoning 3-0. Jiangsu, who has secured a semi berth, gave way to People`s Liberation Army 3-0.

Date:2009-10-12 9:55:00     
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