China and Japan have set up a title-clash in the women’s section after emphatic, identical 3-0 wins over Korea and Thailand respectively in the semifinals of the Badminton Asia team championship, at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, here on Saturday.
World No. 8 Nozomi of Japan, BWF World Super series winner in December, made amends after early problems against Busanan Ongbumrungphan to notch up a win in 67 minutes.
Despite problems with her serve, Nozomi showed better control over strokes and the net dribbles to down the fighting Thai girl.
In the doubles match, Matsutomo Misaki and Takahashi Ayaka ensured the winning start was frittered away by defeating Spuajirakul Puttita and Taerattanachai Sapsiree in a match that could have gone either way.
With the experienced World No. 13 Sayaka Sato playing the second singles, she was expected to have it easy. However, she was clearly rattled by the tenacity of World No. 22 Porntip Buranaprasertsuk who showed wonderful fighting spirit and better control of the game at the net, especially in the first game.
But, drawing from her experience, Sayaka overcame her erratic returns just in time to win the contest.
In the other semi-final, China rode on the brilliance of its highest-rated player here, World No. 7 Wang Shixian, who took just 36 minutes to down World No. 6 Sung Ji Hyun to record a 21-13, 21-12 win.
With doubles duo of Luo Ying and Tian Qing making short work of Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan 21-7, 16-21, 21-14, the onus was on World No. 11 Sun Yu to finish off the issue in style.
And Sun did not disappoint, coming up with a methodical 21-18, 22-13 win over World No. 14 Bae Yeon Ju.
The results: Semifinals: Women: Japan bt Thailand 3-0 (Nozomi Okuhara bt Busanan Ongbumbrungphan 21-14, 17-21, 21-14; Misaki Matsutomo & Takahashi Ayaka bt Supajirakul Puttita & Taerattanachai Sapsiree 16-21, 21-13, 21-18; Sayaka Sato bt Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 21-19, 21-16).
China bt Korea 3-0 (Wang Shixian bt Sung Ji Hyun 21-13, 21-12; Ying Luo & tian Qing bt Jung Kyung Eun & Shin Seung Chan 21-7, 16-21, 21-14; Sun Yu bt Bae Yeon Ju 21-18, 21-13).