BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - China’s holder Chen Long and his girlfriend Wang Shixian are on track for a happy ending to their love affair with the All England Open Badminton Championships after reaching the singles semi-finals on Friday.
Chen kept his title defense alive by overcoming an early scare to beat Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, who showed his pedigree to win the first game 21-18.
However, Chen composed himself at the break and then showed his qualities to take the next two games 21-11 21-14.
“I was worried especially during the first game because my opponent is a great player so I did feel quite a lot of pressure at one point,” said Chen.
”But I think both of us performed really well so I think in the end I was really lucky to progress. This is a very unique place and many players want to win.
“And it’s a fine line between winning and losing so I just want to try my best.”
Chen next faces compatriot Zhengming Wang who beat South Korean Dong Keun Lee 21-13 16-21 21-17 in his quarter-final.
Women’s No. 4 seed Wang eased past India’s Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal 21-17 21-10 to set up an all-Chinese clash against London Games silver medalist Wang Yihan who beat South Korean Bae Yeon Ju 21-8 21-13.
Wang knows that to match her partner Chen’s achievement of reaching the final last year she must be confident.
“I think for every athlete confidence is the key thing and every time I win a match it gives me a boost,” said Wang.
”Even though the scoreboard might not have said it, it was a very tough match for me.
“I need to go into every match with confidence because that is the only way that I can beat my opponents.”
Chris and Gabby Adcock, hoping to become the first English husband-and-wife team to win the mixed doubles title at the Yonex championships since the 1930s, went out to Olympic champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei in the last eight.
Editing by Ken Ferris