Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai was the happiest man on court today when he defeated Short Stature (SH6) men’s singles World Champion Jack Shephard of England 21-14 22-20.
“Every match against Jack is always difficult because I tend to put myself under a lot of pressure to beat him,” said Chu.
The nerves did not show, however, as Chu took the first game rather quickly and then left Shephard trailing again in the second. Shephard looked like he was ready to take it back when he forced deuce in the second but Chu ended it in two quick points.
“I’ve watched Jack and played him enough to know what I need to do but I still get nervous so my coach said not to think too much. Just play the game,” Chu added.
Chu will meet Krishna Nagar of India in the finals.
Nagar beat Wong Chun Yim also of Hong Kong in a long, hard-fought match that ended 17-21 21-19 21-18.
“I felt very negative in my game. I wanted to win points quickly so I went too fast. Then when I was down 15-18 it was really difficult to come back but I decided to play more rallies and that got me the win,” said Nagar,
Nagar will then face Chu for the second time tomorrow, this time in the men’s doubles SS6 finals when he and partner Raja Magotra go against Chu Man Kei/Wong Chu Yim, the world champions.
Fang Jen-Yu (Chinese Taipei) ended Tay Wei Ming’s (Singapore) hopes of winning the Standing Upper (SU5) men’s singles gold in Thailand when he won the semifinal 15-21 21-17 21-18.
“It was hard-earned points but I kept telling myself that I just needed to focus on every shot and not let it worry me even when he got ahead,” said Fang.
Fang will take on Malaysia’s Cheah Liek Hou who defeated Taiyo Imai of Japan 21-19 21-16 in the other semifinal.
Cheah will then partner with Mohd. Fariz Ahmad Azri as they take on Watcharaphon Chok-Uthaikul/Pricha Somsiri of Thailand in the men’s doubles SU5 final.
Men’s singles Wheelchair 2 (WH2) world champion Kim Jungjun (Korea) appeared a little worried and admitted to being surprised by the performance of his opponent, 18-year-old Daiki Kajiwara (Japan), as the young Japanese held Kim point for point before finally succumbing 19-21 15-21.
Kim had actually been told by Chan Ho Yuen (Hong Kong China) about Kajiwara.
“Chan told me I should be aware of what a good athlete Daiki is. He’s young but he’s highly skilled. Maybe he lacked experience this time but give him a year or so and I think it will be difficult to beat him,” said Kim, who will play Chan in another one of their much-anticipated finals.
“Chan is someone I want to beat every time but we’re equally matched and now it’s not so easy. I get nervous every time before we meet but I’m now also feeling confident,” he added.
The women’s wheelchair events provided the spectators with some nail-biting moments as well.
Emine Seckin (Turkey) and Rie Ogura (Japan) battled it out for more than an hour in the WH2 category before Seckin triumphed, 15-21 22-20 27-25.
“It was hard and I played the women’s doubles too but every time I’m on court I don’t think about how tired I am. I just think about how to win this match. After each match, I think about what I did right and wrong and how to fix these mistakes,” said Seckin.
Seckin and To Man Kei (Belgium) lost their semifinal to Thailand’s Amnouy Weiwithan/Sujirat Pookham 21-13 21-7 in women’s doubles.
Valeska Knoblauch (Germany) was all smiles after defeating Karin Suter-Erath (Switzerland) in the women’s singles Wheelchair 1 (WH1) semifinal but admitted to being taken to task for 73 minutes by the Swiss.
“I didn’t expect it to be easy. I went in nervous and maybe was even gripping my racket rather hard but now I feel good. In the third, I was on the side of the court that felt windy. It was tricky because I didn’t have any length in my shots so I had to change my game,” said Knoblauch, for whom this win makes up for the disappointment of losing in the quarterfinals of the World Championships in Basel last month.
Knoblauch will play the final against world champion Sarina Satomi (Japan) who ousted Sujirat Pookham (Thailand) 22-20 21-17.
Japan is also in the women’s doubles WH1-2 final, represented by Rie Ogura and Ikumi Fuke, who defeated Henriette Koosz/Marcela Quinteros Covella 21-12 21-7.
Ogura/Fuke will play local favourites and top seeds Amnouy Weiwithan/Sujirat Pookham.