World Tour Finals: ‘Daddies’ Solve Korean Puzzle

It was classic Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan once again as they moved to within one win of defending their HSBC BWF World Tour Finals crown.

In their path will be a pair seeking to achieve history, for Wang Chi-Lin and Lee Yang are in the reckoning for their third HSBC BWF World Tour Super 1000 title in as many weeks.

That Ahsan and Setiawan’s semifinal victory today was against Choi Solgyu and Seo Seung Jae – who they hadn’t beaten in two previous matches – was especially significant.

“Finally we beat the Korean pair,” said Ahsan.

A couple of weeks ago, the YONEX Thailand Open, Ahsan and Setiawan had come away from their quarterfinal quite at a loss on how to get past the Koreans.

“We had a lot of plans going into the match, but nothing worked,” smiled Ahsan after that match.

Today it was as if everything fell into place for the reigning champions. The key was the serve, return and third shot, which tied Choi and Seo down and prevented them from gaining any rhythm in the rallies. Setiawan was sublime, instinctively in position and cutting them off, and getting the shuttle to do his bidding at the net; Ahsan mixed his smashes well and kept Choi and Seo on tenterhooks.

It was a cruise for the Indonesians in the second game.

“We told ourselves that we must enjoy the game. If we enjoy the game we can execute our strategy. They have good defence and drives; today we could set up the attack first. We were better at the serve-return. Their defence is very good, so we had to try different attacking shots,” said Ahsan.

Are they close to their best form?

“We are getting better and better,” said Setiawan.

Wang and Lee had a battle on their hands against England’s Ben Lane and Sean Vendy, who were in their first major semifinal. The Chinese Taipei duo prevailed in straight games, but it was close all the way.

“I didn’t have a good match at all,” said Wang. “Maybe I was thinking too much about the trophy. My mind was all over the place and I was struggling to focus. Today it was Lee Yang’s game, he had to run a lot to cover up for me. Tomorrow we play our idols (Ahsan/Setiawan). They have better skills than us. Ahsan has had a daughter and I would like to congratulate him, but we will fight them!”

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