Taiwanese badminton ace Chou Tien-chen (???) on Saturday reached the French Open men's singles finals after defeating South Korean Heo Kwanghee in straight games 21-15, 21-17.
The fourth-seeded Chou edged out world No. 35 Heo in 46 minutes in an exciting quarterfinals matchup at Stade Pierre de Coubertin's court No. 1 in Paris.
It was the 31-year-old Chou's second win out of three against the 26-year-old Heo. Chou defeated Heo in the final of the 2019 Chinese Taipei Open but lost to him at the 2021 Sudirman Cup in Finland.
In the first game of the curtain raiser, Chou established a handsome 19-13 lead by playing close to the net to shorten the rallies. Holding on to his advantage, the 2019 Indonesia Open Super-1000 champion finished the game 21-15 in just 18 minutes.
Determined to win the match in two sets, Chou played carefully against the drift as Heo did his best to extend the rallies by not going for a direct attack. The world No. 4 continued to play strong and went into the midgame interval leading 11-7.
Stepping up the pace, Chou found himself at 19-14, two points away from the final, after a 39-shot rally. Heo gained another point before Chou sent a smash down the line to reach match point at 20-15.
The South Korean saved two match points before Chou sent another smash straight down the line to finish the match 21-17.
Chou celebrated with a scream as he progressed to the final on Sunday against the winner of the match between world No. 1 and first-seed Kento Momota and world No. 13 Kanta Tsuneyama, both from Japan.
Chou's French Open campaign began by sweeping aside India's H.S. Prannoy 21-11, 21-14 Wednesday, before defeating France's Brice Leverdez 21-16, 17-21, 21-19 Thursday, and edging past Japan's Kenta Nishimoto 21-17, 19-21, 21-16 in the quarter finals a day later.
The 2021 French Open Super 750 badminton tournament, held Oct. 26-31, carries a total prize purse of US$600,000.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel