Beiwen Zhang Advances to Korea Open Final

Sept. 29, 2018, 3:11 p.m. (ET)

Beiwen Zhang at the Korea Open

Story courtesy of the BWF

USA’s Beiwen Zhang hadn’t beaten Sung Ji Hyun in three previous matches, but their last encounter had been over a year ago.

In the time since, Zhang’s fortunes have seen an upward swing, while Sung hasn’t had much to cheer about.

Today’s clash reflected that reality, as Zhang made the play and Sung was forced into a reactive mode. The USA player, true to style, played a steady, un-extravagant game, hurrying Sung in the rallies and looking comfortable although the points were close in both games. Zhang had enough fuel in the tank to surge at the end of both games to close it out 21-18 21-19.

“I wanted to relax and enjoy the match,” Zhang said, after making her third final of the year. “I hadn’t beaten her before, so there was no pressure on me. Maybe she was nervous as she was playing at home. I didn’t think too much even when I was trailing. As I don’t have a coach, I had to be steady and strong mentally. I didn’t have a lot of strategies. She is skillful, so I had to stay focused.


“I didn’t expect to come so far. I’m just trying to enjoy every match. It was windy in there and I couldn’t control the shuttle, so I had to keep attacking.”

Speaking of her final tomorrow, Zhang said she anticipated a long match.

“I will prepare to run a lot, that’s the hardest part against the Japanese. I will give everything as it’s the last game. I will tape my feet, because I think I will get blisters.”


Sung, a two-time champion in Korea, was upset she couldn’t treat her fans to a final appearance: “I feel so sorry that I didn’t show the performance I wanted to with so many fans here on the weekend.  Still, I have to get ready to bounce back. I was playing in front of my home crowd and the opportunity to make the final came around and I wasn’t able to grab it so it’s really disappointing.”


 

Zhang will play Nozomi Okuhara, the 3-seed from China, in the final on Sunday. The women's singles championship match is will be played following the men's singles title match, which begins at 11 a.m. local time.

The VICTOR Korea Open 2018 is being played at the SK Handball Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, and is a HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 event.