Updated: 03/08/2014 06:04 | By Agence France-Presse

Chen guarantees Chinese final presence

All-England champion Chen Long helped ensure that there would be a Chinese mens singles finalist as he carried his title defence into the semi-finals with a patient win on Friday.


Chen guarantees Chinese final presence

China's Chen Long returns a shot in Kuala Lumpur on January 17, 2014 - by Kamal Sellehuddi

The world number two also remained impressively calm as he resisted an excellent challenge from Hans-Christian Vittinghus, the Danish seed-beater, by 18-21, 21-11, 21-14.

It was only in the late stages of an absorbing 77-minute match that Chen got on top, and afterwards he admitted that he had had his worries in the first half of the match.

"I was worried, yes, especially after the first game," the titleholder said.

"I am playing in England and in Europe and my opponent is a very good player and I did feel quite a lot of pressure at one point."

Chen just about pushed his way through in a contest of many long and varied rallies, against an opponent who had dispensed with Boonsak Ponsana, the sixth seeded Thai, because of a little extra physical strength and enduringly good movement.

There was a pleasing finish, with Chen's last shot taking a net cord and falling almost dead, with Vittinghus diving along the floor in a despairing attempt at an improbable retrieval and then lying prone.

Chen came under the net and patted him, then squatted down to shake hands, and eventually hugged his opponent when he got to his feet.

"The arena is one I am quite familiar with, and this is one of the best atmospheres," Chen said, before finding a way to deflect the question as to whether he can again win the title. 

"I have played three matches now; hopefully I can play five and do my best in all of them," he said.

Chen will now play his compatriot, Wang Zhengming, the rising world number nine from Guangzhou, who fought off a dangerous challenge from Lee Dong Keun, a Korean with a spectacular defence.

Earlier China's chances of mounting a serious challenge for all five titles was enhanced by Wang Shixian, the All-England champion of three years ago, who reached the women's singles semi-finals.

Wang, seeded four, was too mobile for Saina Nehwal, the seventh seeded Commonwealth champion from India, covering the court with pleasingly fluent movement, and taking control from early in the second game of her 21-17, 21-10 win.

Nehwal, who recently won the Indian Open, had hoped that success might being a revival in her fortunes, but despite a late four-point flurry from 13-20 to 17-20 in the first game, hers was a muted performance.

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