Hong Kong: In their 13th career showdown, Thailand’s World No. 5 Ratchanok Intanon will be taking on China’s World No. 3 Chen Yu Fei in the Hong Kong Open final on Sunday.
The fifth seeded Intanon made Hong Kong Open final for the second straight year after outlasting second seeded Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 21-23, 21-15, 21-12 in the semi-final in 62 minutes.
In tomorrow’s final, Intanon takes on Chen Yu Fei, whom she has beaten only twice in 12 matches, and none in the last three.
“I was calm at 19-10 and she just tried to play with more speed,” said Intanon, explaining what had happened in the first game. “That’s not my game and I put pressure on myself. For me, I felt it was not my point when I was hitting the shuttle, so it was not good even though I controlled the game.
“I just tried to keep calm and try again in the second. I knew I had to push her more, play not her game, but what I want to play. We know each other, we’ve played many times. Although I made a mistake in the first game, I tried to enjoy the match and challenge myself.
“In the second and third, the strokes were sharper and I tried to not slow down the game.”
Intanon said she expected Chen Yu Fei – who won the Fuzhou China Open last Sunday – to be tired.
“She will be a bit tired from last week, and here also she looked tired. She has a good defence. I will try to do my best, I won’t think about my weakness.
“I want to be more confident. When I play my game I feel happy and enjoy it, but today I feel I pressured myself. For tomorrow, I won’t expect that I have to be champion. I have to show what is my game.”
Chen Yu Fei was also pushed to limit before come out winning by beating Zhang Beiwen of USA 21 18, 14-21, 21-15. Chen currently held a 10-2 career head-to-head record against Intanon.