Taiwan's Chou advances to finals in Taipei badminton tourney

Badminton star Chou Tien-chen moves into the final.

Badminton star Chou Tien-chen moves into the final. (CNA photo)

Taiwan's world badminton No. 2 Chou Tien-chen (周天成) advanced to the finals of the Yonex Chinese Taipei Open 2019 after winning his semi-final match in the men's singles on Saturday.

The top-seeded Chou was made to fight for the win by Indonesian world No. 34 Shesar Hiren Rhustavito, securing the victory 23-25, 21-10, 21-13 in a match that lasted one hour and nine minutes.

In the thrilling first game, Rhustavito started impressively with three consecutive points and held a 8-11 lead before the players switched sides.

Although Chou got back into the game, he was eventually edged out 25-23 in the tiebreaker.

The home crowd took turns in cheering for Chou as they urged him on in the second game so to take the match into a third game.

The local favorite quickly took the lead to 11-5 and after a water break the gap grew until Chou won the second game 21-10.

Raising his play, the Taiwanese shuttler was again in control in the third game, taking an early 11-6 lead before a break. Rhustavito tried to put Chou under more pressure by making the rallies longer as he sought to stage a comeback, but Chou continued to dominate, taking the third game 21-13.

Chou, who won 65 of the 113 rallies, said despite losing the first game, he told himself he had to keep playing hard for the rest of the match.

"The opponent held his form quite well but later he became tired as the speed of play transitioned," he said.

Rhustavito, who won 48 rallies, said he felt he made more errors than Chou and that was a deciding factor in the match.

"I didn't think too much, I just wanted to play my best for each match and I ended up at this stage today. But Chou played really well and made less errors than me," he said.

Chou will next face world No.47 Heo Kwang Hee of South Korea in the finals on Sunday.

Chou finished third in the men's singles at the Chinese Taipei Open in 2018 after winning the title in 2016 and 2017.

In mid-July, Chou scored one of the biggest victories of his career when he won the Blibli Indonesia Open, a top-tier BWF Super 1000 event, followed by a BWF Super 500 event in Thailand last month.

The Yonex Chinese Taipei Open 2019, a slightly lower-tier BWF Super 300 event, is being held Sept. 3-8 at Taipei Arena and has a total purse of US$500,000. (By William Yen)