Beware China, the German wall is spoiling your plans!
Juliane Schnek stopped the upcoming Chen Xiao Jia in the semifinals to prevent an all-Chinese final in the Yonex-Sunrise India Open Super Series.
Juliane now faces Asian champion Li Xuerui in the summit clash after the Chinese was given a walkover by compatriot Yanjiao Jiang in the other semifinal. This was the second walkover by a Chinese shuttler after Chen Jin withdrew against P Kashyap on Friday.
Lone hope gone
India's lone contender in the fray, Kashyap was stretched to three games by Korea's Won Ho Shon. But even as the vociferous crowd cheered the Indian on, he found that his smashes lacked power at crucial moments and lost 14-21, 21-19, 16-21.
Before his match, Juliane had achieved her mission, beating giant-killer Chen 21-16, 12-13 on the same court. The Chinese qualifier had beaten European champion Tine Baun in the previous round and Saina Nehwal in the previous tournament.
This is Juliane's second Chinese victim in a row, having beaten top seed Shixian Wang on Friday. But the German is unfazed by the prospect of playing against another Chinese.
"It doesn't matter that I have beaten two already in the tournament, its love-all tomorrow," Juliane said about the Sunday final.
The world No 8 has qualified for the Olympics and is excited at her ranking getting a big boost after the India outing. Wearing her emotions on her "wrist" --- a black rubber wristband which reads London 2012 --- Juliane said she was already getting a feel of what the Olympics would be like.
"It's in the air," she said. "This would be my third Olympics. The first was to learn, the second was just bad luck, but I will try and make the third one work."
But China are obviously a concern. "The speed with which the Chinese play is amazing and that's why it is difficult to play them.
"I want many countries to challenge the Chinese as I think it is important for the sport. The sport would not progress if it gets one-sided in favour of a particular country."
Her coach and two teammates had to leave for Germany, but Juliane said the crowd made her day.
Defending champion and world No 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia is all set for another title in India. He was hardly tested by Hsu Jen Hao 21-13, 21-7 and showed no signs of the shoulder injury which had kept him out of action for the last two months.