World number one and top seed Lee Chong Wei made it through to the quarterfinals of the Yonex World Badminton Championships at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris.
He defeated Rajiv Ouseph of England 21-9, 21-9 and will take on his best friend on the world circuit, Taufik Hidayat for a place in the semis, where the winner will most likely take on Lin Dan for a spot in Sunday’s final.
Chong Wei was in cruise mode against Rajiv and was never really troubled by the Englishman in what was the last match of the day.
Taufik and Chong Wei have played 14 times with the record 9-5 in favour of the Malaysian. Chong Wei defeated Taufik at the Indonesian Open this year while the last time Taufik got the better of Chong Wei was during the 2008 French Open.
“Although we have played against each other so may times, each new match must be looked at differently,” said Chong Wei.
“We are familiar with each others style and it is not going to be easy just based on past records as this a new match.
“Honesty I do not look at who the opponent is in the next round for I have to win all my matches in order to land the title.”
Earlier Taufik Hidayat sailed into the quarterfinals with an effortless 21-8,21-14 win over Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk.
And he is looking forward to the clash against Chong Wei with renewed enthusiasm.
“I am slowly coming back to be the player I once was and against Chong Wei it will be difficult as he is in a good run of form,” said Taufik.
“But one can never tell in badminton as I have an equal chance against him. It was good that I was able to conserve energy and it will be a good match tomorrow against Chong Wei.”
South Korea’s Park Sung Hwan also made the last eight at the expense of 7th seed Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh. Park won 21-15,21-14 and will now take on Lin Dan of China, who has a 10-3 career win record over the Korean.
In the women’s singles, home favourite Pi Hongyan booked her place in the quarterfinals after coming from a set down to defeat Kim Moon Hi of South Korea 16-21,21-15, 21-14.
Hongyan will be facing an uphill task against Wang Xin of China who is the third seed here. The duo has met twice with Wang Xin triumphant on both occasions, the last being the 2009 Hong Kong Open.
Meanwhile Saina Nehwal stormed into the quarterfinals beating Russia’s 13th seed Ella Diehl in straight games 21-14, 21-18.
Nehwal controlled the match and maintained the pace throughout to win in 40 minutes.
At 18-14 in the first game, Nehwal reeled off three points in a row forced an error at the net from Diehl to win 21-14.
“I wouldn’t say that the first game was easy,” Nehwal said. “I felt better than my second round game and I did control the play. I know she would have liked to play long rallies because that’s her strength and I didn’t allow that.”
“I think I am more comfortable with the conditions now,” said Nehwal. “It’s going to get tougher now as higher seeded players will come through but I am prepared.”
“It’s not that I haven’t played quarter-finals before but a world championship has its own pressures and I think I am used to it.”
Nehwal will now play China’s 6th seed Shixian Wang and never played against the Chinese in any championships.
Malaysia’s doubles pair and number one seeds Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong also safely negotiated their way into the last eight when they defeated China’s Zhang Nan/Biao Chai 21-17,21-17.
They will face South Korea’s Lee Yong Dae/Jung Jae Sung and will be in for a tough time as the Koreans hold the edge in their past meetings, winning eight out their nine meetings, the most recent being at the Chinese Taipei Open last month.
The only win recorded by Koo/Tan dates back to the 2007 Macau Open, ironically the first time the two pairs crossed path.