DANES MADE TO SWEAT BEFORE REACHING SEMIS

Top seed Peter Gade of Denmark and his eight seeded compatriot Joachim Persson were stretched to three games before booking their tickets to the semi-finals of the YONEX French Open Super Series on Friday.

Joining them in the final four is Asian superstar Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, who will face Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana for the right to play in Sunday’s final.

Gade, who has just recovered from a back injury which forced him to skip last week’s Denmark Open, had relatively easy matches in his opening two  rounds against England’s Carl Baxter and fellow Dane Christian Lind Thomsen.

On Friday, Germany’s Marc Zwiebler turned on the style to push the former world No. 1 in the opening two games before surprisingly running out of steam in the decider.

Zwiebler, seeded sixth, had sensed this was his opportunity to stun the top seed and started with all guns blazing in the quarter-final tie.

His court coverage was quite exceptional and he returned everything Gade gave to him with interest. It was no surprise when he took the first game 21-15.

But Gade, knows too well it is not how you start which counts but how you finish.

The cool Dane kept his composure in check and continued playing his own rhythm and slowly but surely moved Zwiebler to all four corners of the court. The German was visibly tiring when Gade wrapped up a 21-12 victory.

He continued playing at a high pace which Zwiebler could not keep up and Gade eventually ran out with a 15-21, 21-12, 21-8 victory after 61 minutes.

Persson, meanwhile, escaped with a hard-fought win over China’s Du Pengyu, who found his opponent one Dane too many. After disposing of rising Danish star Viktor Axelsen in the first round and then took out fourth seed Jan O Jorgensen on Thursday.

Du, who is currently ranked world No. 17 – the highest he has ever been – oozed confidence when he walked onto court to face his third Danish opponent of the week, but Persson was in no mood to fall over. He stamped his authority from the first serve and didn’t let up to register a 21-17 victory.

The second game was completely different with Du leading the charge. The youngster was all over Persson and levelled the match when he won 21-12.

The rubber was a real cracker with both players refusing to give an inch. They were neck-and-neck before Persson pulled away to win 21-19 to set up a date with Gade.

World No. 10 Ponsana, his country’s best hope of a medal in next week’s Asian Games, has no problems booking his ticket to the semi-finals. The Thai needed just 31 minutes to defeat India’s Jayaram Ajay 21-15, 21-14.

Ponsana has been in top form here in Paris, sailing through all his matches without dropping a game. On his day, many reckon he can beat anyone in the world but the Thai has to be more consistent if he is to win a major.

His first real test will come on Saturday when he meets former world and Olympic champion Hidayat.

The Indonesian, who is fighting to qualifying for the VICTOR BWF Super Series Finals which will be held in Chinese Taipei on 5-9 January 2011, needs as many points as possible and will be hard to stop.

Against England’s Rajiv Ouseph, Hidayat took 40 minutes to register a 21-13, 21-18 victory.

For full results log on to http://www.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/matches.aspx?id=B1ACFCEE-A1A7-478F-ACEA-DDCE3A759085&d=20101103

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