Minh beats tough rival for US Open semi spot

Update: July, 16/2011 - 11:20

HA NOI — Nguyen Tien Minh overthrew his misfortune yesterday, beating Bao Chunlai of China 21-18, 21-15 in the US Open Grand Prix Gold's quarter-final round in California.

The Vietnamese top player has met Bao five previous times, and lost four. Minh came home with a victory in the fifth time from the Proton Malaysia Open Super Series last January, but only because of Bao's withdrawal due to injury.

On yesterday's sixth meeting, he was still considered below Bao.

Bao is used to being the world's No 2, while Minh's highest position was No 5 last year.

The two sides played an aggressive match with spectators watching them neck-and-neck.

The turning point of the first set was 17-all, when Minh secured four points to Bao's one.

The second set witnessed Bao's rise. He created a gap of nine points. However the Viet Nam Olympian gradually narrowed the distance and re-took his domination, earning 11 points in a row.

Bao failed to find a solution against booming Minh and had to accept his second loss to the Vietnamese at 15-21.

The victory also marked the first time Minh, the world No 9, entered the semi-final round of the US Open. He will play Marc Zwiebler of Germany, seeded No 6 here and 17 in the world.

Zwiebler made a big bang by beating the tournament No 1, Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia 21-16, 21-7. The former Olympic champion Hidayat played below his abilities in a poor performance and quickly lost in 43 minutes.

The other semi-final match will see Japanese Sho Sasaki playing Hsueh Hsuan Yi of Chinese Taipei.

Seed No 7 Sho entered the last four after defeating Thai Boonsak Ponsana, No 4 here, 21-10, 21-15. Unseeded Hsueh won 21-23, 21-14, 21-19 over Kevin Cordon from Guatemala. — VNS