Thailand Masters: Japan’s Yamaguchi, Nishimoto in finals

Yamaguchi dropped the first set but launched a comeback to squeeze by Marin 14-21 23-21 21-18, setting up a Sunday championship match against Se-young.

Japan's Akane Yamaguchi returns a shot against Spain's Carolina Marin.   -  AP

Top seed and world number three Akane Yamaguchi fought her way into the women’s singles finals of the Thailand Masters on Saturday after a gruelling three-set victory over Spain’s Carolina Marin.

The Japanese shuttler dropped the first set but launched a fierce comeback to squeeze by Marin 14-21 23-21 21-18, setting up a Sunday championship match against Korea’s An Se-young.

Compatriot Kenta Nishimoto also earned a finals berth in the men’s singles after stopping Thailand’s hometown hope, 18-year-old Kunlavut Vitidsarn.

Kunlavut was the local favourite after star Thai women’s shuttler Ratchanok Intanon was knocked out of competition at Bangkok’s Indoor Stadium Huamark on Friday.

But home advantage was not enough to stop Nishimoto, who ended Kunlavut’s tournament run in two sets 21-18 21-13.

On Sunday Nishimoto is up against the number three seed from Hong Kong Angus Ng Ka Long, who beat China’s Shi Yu Qi in the other semi-finals 21-18 21-19.

The Thailand Masters is the second competition this month to not feature men’s world number one Kento Momota after the Japanese superstar was injured in a car crash that killed his driver and left him with minor injuries in Kuala Lumpur.

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