World No. 1 and reigning champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan was beaten by China’s Olympic champion Chen Yufei in the women’s singles semifinals at All England Badminton Open, here.
Ahead of Saturday’s match, Yamaguchi dominated the head-to-head as the two-time world champion had won 17 out of 26 encounters against Chen. In their recent clash, Yamaguchi defeated Chen in straight games in the semifinals at last week’s German Open.
But Chen pushed herself forward this time at the Birmingham Arena, playing patiently and forcing her opponent to make many mistakes. After 37 minutes, the 2019 champion reached the final 21-17, 21-8, a Xinhua report said.
“I didn’t expect to win the match easily. My goal was to try my best in every point and I didn’t think too much about the result,” said Chen, who will fight for the title against An Se-young as the second seed from South Korea came from behind to edged out Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei 17-21, 21-19, 24-22.
Chen believed that she restrained Yamaguchi’s performance successfully with the right technique and attitude. “I put a lot of pressure on her by playing at my best. When I led in the match, she was not calm enough and began to hesitate while hitting the shuttles.”
In the men’s singles, 2021 champion Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia was knocked out of the semifinals by China’s Shi Yuqi 21-19, 21-13.
“At first, his attacks gave me lots of trouble, but his intentions were kind of obvious, so I just tried my best to avoid them,” said Shi, who also defeated Lee in last year’s Denmark Open final.
“In tomorrow’s final, I hope I can play as well as today, try my best and show my best form,” said the 27-year-old.
The 2018 champion will play against teammate Li Shifeng as the 23-year-old ousted Anders Antonsen of Denmark 21-11, 19-21, 21-18.
Mixed doubles top seeds Zheng Siwe/Huang Yaqiong of China fought hard to overplay Indonesia duo Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto/Lisa Ayu Kusumawati 21-17, 13-21, 21-13. The Olympic runners-up from China will face South Korean Seo Seung-jae/Chae Yu-jung.
Indonesian pairs set up a final clash in the men’s doubles as the third seeds Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan edged out Chinese rookies Liang Weikeng/Wang Chang 21-15, 19-21, 29-27 and top seeds Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rain Ardianto beat China’s He Jiting/Zhou Haodong 21-19, 21-17.