Former world junior champion Kunlavat Vitidsarn upset third seed and last edition’s finalist Loh Kean Yew of Singapore to reach the semi-final while sixth seed Indonesian Anthony Ginting was forced to dig deep by Li Shi Feng of China in the men’s singles quarter-finals of the India Open 2023 at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, here on Friday.
Vitidsarn adopted a slow and steady game plan to defeat Loh 21-12, 21-17 while Ginting fought back from a 6-10 deficit in the decider to beat Li 21-11, 17-21, 21-18. Top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark also advanced to the semi-finals after his opponent Rasmus Gemke had to be taken off the court on a wheelchair following a fall.
Semi-finals of the prestigious BWF World Tour Super 750 event, which is organised by the Badminton Association of India, will be played on Saturday while finals take place on Sunday.
In women’s singles, top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan got the better of Spaniard Carolina Marin 21-17, 14-21, 21-9 and will now face Thailand’s Supanida Katethong, who got a walkover from third seed Chen Yu Fei citing illness. The other women’s singles semi-final will see second seed An Se Young of South Korea face China’s He Bingjiao.
While there were quite a few interesting matchups in the last-eight round, the clash between former junior and senior world champions was probably the most sought after given their different style of play. Loh won the World Championships title in 2021.
Loh started strong and raced to a 11-7 lead before Vitidsarn bagged 12 straight points to pocket the opening game. The second game was a much closer affair but the Thai kept his nerves under pressure and clinched four consecutive points from 17-17 to set up a semi-final clash against Ginting.
The women’s singles quarter-final between Yamaguchi and Marin looked like it was heading to a humdinger with both players locked at 5-5 in the decider. But the Japanese then simply raised the bar and raced to victory in an hour and four minutes.