'Giant Killer' Ginting takes another major scalp in stunning Olympic champ Chen Long

World No. 9 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia in action at the Singapore Badminton Open. (PHOTO: Singapore Badminton Open)
World No. 9 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia in action at the Singapore Badminton Open. (PHOTO: Singapore Badminton Open)

SINGAPORE — Anthony Sinisuka Ginting may not yet be a familiar sporting figure, but judging from his surprise Singapore Badminton Open quarter-final victory over reigning Olympic gold medallist Chen Long on Friday (12 April), the Indonesian is well on his way to making a big name for himself.

The 22-year-old world No. 9 already has a nickname, Giant Killer, after taking major scalps like Lin Dan, Viktor Axelsen and Kento Momota in his four-year professional career. He has also already beaten Chen five times in eight encounters prior to their clash at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Mixing powerful smashes with nimble court coverage, Ginting had Chen grimacing in exasperation for much of the match, as he won 21-8, 21-19 in 42 minutes.

“Similar to other players when the head-to-head is in your favour, your confidence will be there as you pretty much know how the other player plays. I also review my previous matches to regain my memory and the strategy that I used before,” said Ginting.

Chen was unwilling to comment much about his defeat, saying that “even if you are an Olympic champion, you will lose at times” before walking away from reporters.

Ginting will next meet defending Singapore Open men’s champion Chou Tien-chen in the semi-finals. The Taiwanese overcame a mid-match blip in his quarter-final tie to defeat India’s Sameer Verma 21-10, 15-21, 21-15.

“I was too eager to attack in the second game and when it into the decider, I had to stay focused and play like I did in the first game. And I’m glad that I won the match,” said Chou.

Thrilling duel between Axelsen and Christie

The 4,600-strong crowd on Friday were treated to a thrilling duel between world No. 3 Axelsen and reigning Asian Games champions Jonatan Christie of Indonesia. For 1hr 20min, the tie swung back and forth in favour of each player, before Axelsen eked out a 22-24, 21-18, 24-22 win to the roar of the approving audience.

“Tired and happy. Of course, winning is the most fun. Just last week I lost to my opponent. I felt I was lucky, but that’s part of the game,” the Dane said, who sets up a last-four tie against world No. 1 Kento Momota.

The Japanese defeated India’s Kidambi Srikanth 21-18, 19-21, 21-9 in 67 minutes.

In the women’s singles, world No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying was also stretched to three games, before beating South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun 21-11, 17-21, 21-16 to advance into the semi-finals. She faces Japan’s world No. 4 Akane Yamaguchi, who eliminated former world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in straight games, 21-13, 21-17.

The other semi-final will see another Japanese, world No. 3 Nozomi Okuhara, against India’s P.V. Sindhu. Okuhara saw off another Indian shuttler, Sania Nehwal, 21-8, 21-13 in her quarter-final tie, while Sindhu defeated China’s Cai Yanyan 21-13, 17-21, 21-14.

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