India Open 2023: Yamaguchi beats Marin to reach semifinal

Yamaguchi, who won Malaysia Open Super Series Premier last week, will face the winner of the match between Pornpawee Chochuwong and An Se Young in the semifinal.

FILE PHOTO: Japanese shuttler Akane Yamaguchi competes against South Korea’s An Se Young during the women’s singles Group A badminton match at the BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok on December 7, 2022.

FILE PHOTO: Japanese shuttler Akane Yamaguchi competes against South Korea’s An Se Young during the women’s singles Group A badminton match at the BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok on December 7, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Yamaguchi, who won Malaysia Open Super Series Premier last week, will face the winner of the match between Pornpawee Chochuwong and An Se Young in the semifinal.

World No.1 Akane Yamaguchi asserted her class with a 21-17, 14-21, 21-9 victory over three-time World Champion and Rio Olympics champion Carolina Marin in the women’s quarterfinals of the $900,000 Yonex Sunrise India Open badminton championship at the KD Jadhav Hall of the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex on Friday.

With the Indian challenge having been wiped out a day earlier, there was nothing to hold back in the popular stands, as the fans chanted the name of Marin, even though they knew the prowess of the 25-year-old Yamaguchi.

Herself two-time World Champion in the last two editions and the reigning All-England champion, Yamaguchi handled the match with great poise, especially in the decider when she dropped only six points at the change of side, and only three more thereafter to Marin who had held the world No.1 spot for 66 weeks.

Yet, Marin was a class act in the second game when she controlled the flow of the contest with flair and firepower, moving with her usual energy, and unleashing strokes with accuracy and imagination.

What stood out for Yamaguchi was how she made Marin work for the points in the third game and ran her to the ground eventually.

From 14-9 in the third game, Yamaguchi sailed through unchallenged, closing out the match with her trade mark, a deft drop. The Japanese showed that she could accelerate with a higher gear whenever she wanted.

In the semifinals, Yamaguchi will play Supanida Katethong of Thailand who got a walkover from third seed Chen Yu Fei. The Tokyo Olympic champion took ill after having outplayed Saona Nehwal in the second round and was unable to get on the court.

The other semifinal will be between the second seed An Se Young of Korea and the fourth seed He Being Jiao of China.

The top seed in the men’s section, Viktor Axelsen did not have to go through such a tough grind. In fact, it was disappointing for the fans as Axelsen’s opponent, fellow Dane, Rasmus Gemke, the man who had edged out Lakshya Sen, retired at 8-16, with a leg injury. Gemke had never beaten Axelsen but had stretched him to three games the last time the two met. The match was hotting up before the anti-climax.

Axelsen will play Jonatan Christie who saved two match points to beat Chou Tien Chen 22-20 in the third game.

Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand shocked the third seed Loh Kena Yew of Singapore with surprising ease at 21-12, 21-17, to set up a semifinal against sixth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting who played brilliantly at the crunch against Li Shi Feng of China.

The results (quarterfinals)
Men: Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Rasmus Gemke (Den) 16-8 (retired); Jonatan Christie (Ina) bt Chou Tien Chen (Tpe) 21-15, 13-21, 22-20; Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Tha) bt Loh Kean Yew (Sgp) 21-12, 21-17; Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (Ina) bt Li Shi Feng (Chn) 21-11, 17-21, 2-118;
Women: Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) bt Carolina Marin (Esp) 21-17, 14-21, 21-9; Supanida Katethong (Tha) w.o. Chen Yu Fei (Chn); He Bing Jiao (Chn) bt Beiwen Zhang (USSA) 21-13, 21-19; An Sse Young (Kor) bt Pompawee Chochuwong (Tha) 21-14, 21-14.
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