Chinese shuttlers stalled at BWF French Open, Zheng and Chen march on

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Chinese shuttlers experienced a lackluster day in BWF World Superseries French Open semi-finals in Paris on Saturday, as only mixed doubles top seeds Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen managed to come through a grueling match for a final berth.

Women's doubles world champions Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan failed to defend their title as they were overshadowed by Indonesian duo of Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu 21-5, 21-10 in just 40 minutes.

Polii and Rahayu set up an encounter with South Korea's Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan, who lifted up the Denmark Open trophy last weekend.

"We played a poor start, and could not build up our momentum. We were restrained by our opponents," admitted Jia, who partnered Chen for their first BWF Superseries title one year ago in the same venue.

From then on, they won at BWF Superseries Finals and World Championships, and were currently positioned atop world rankings.

"We could feel the challenges from opponents in every match," added Jia.

Chen then regrouped herself to feature on mixed doubles court with Zheng. The current world No. 1 faced a rough battle against Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen of Denmark.

In the opening game, the Chinese duo wasted four game points for 20-all, before making a timely adjustment and winning the next two points.

Christiansen and Pedersen built an 11-6 lead midway through the second game. Zheng and Chen failed to chip away the deficit, only to concede the game at 21-17. They held their nerves in the decider to secure their positions in Sunday's final at 21-15.

"We did something bad in the second game, before making some changes to our tactics in the decider, which proved successful," commented Zheng.

Next up for Zheng and Chen are Olympic and world champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, who saw off another Chinese pair Zhang Nan and Li Yinhui in straight games.

"We lost to them in the World Championships final, so we need to prepare for the match as challengers," said Zheng.

Another world champion pair, Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan, fell victim of Saturday's loss to Lee Jhe-Huei and Lee Yang of Chinese Taipei at 19-21, 21-13, 21-19.

China's He Jiting and Tan Qiang, both 19, stopped their impressive run as they crashed out with 21-18, 21-19 against defending champions Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen.

He Bingjiao also stopped her quest for defending women's singles title after falling short against world No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying in full games. Tai will take on Japan's Yamaguchi Akane, who upset second-seeded Sindhu Pusarla.

In men's singles, which saw many top names falter, eighth-seeded Srikanth Kidambi of India held off challenges from teammate Prannoy 14-21, 21-19, 21-18.

20-year-old Anders Antonsen's magical journey in Paris came to an end as the Dane lost to Japanese shuttler Nishimoto Kenta.

The French Open was the 10th leg of 12 BWF World Superseries of the season with a total prize money of 325,000 U.S. dollars up for grabs.

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