Lima: Unseeded Malaysian girls’ singles shuttler Lee Ying Ying turned in a stellar all-round performance to knock off No. 11 Natsuki Nidaira of Japan in the semi-finals of World Junior Championships on Saturday, winning 21-15, 16-21, 21-14 in 74 minutes in Lima, Peru.
After her loss to Jamie Hsu in the Group A2 tie against USA in the world junior mixed team championships, Lee Ying Ying came into the singles event in terrific form. Having defeated No. 3 seed Supanida Katethong of Thailand, No. 9 seed Clara Azurmendi of Spain, and No. 8 seed Julie Dawall Jakobsen of Denmark en route to the semi-finals. Natsuki Nidaira was no weak opponent either, she completed a beautiful quarter-final match to beat last year’s world junior championships runner-up and No. 1 seed of the tournament He Bingjiao of China 12-21, 21-13, 21-19 to advance to the semi-finals. After her triumph in the semis against Nidaira, Lee will take on compatriot Goh Jin Wei for the world junior title on Sunday.
In the bottom half of the girls’ singles draw, Goh Jin Wei’s hard work had paid off when she registered a convincing win in the semi-finals against Japanese Moe Araki with 21-10, 21-10 in 32 minutes. The No. 4 seed Goh Jin Wei needed 49 minutes to come through a tense quarter-final match against No. 13 seed Chen Yufei of China on Friday, winning 21-19, 22-20. Meanwhile, Moe Araki saw off compatriot No. 2 seed Saena Kawakami 21-15, 12-21, 21-19 in the fourth round of girl’s singles on Thursday and Gao Fangjie of China on Friday before meeting Goh in the semi-finals.
No matter who wins the girls’ title on Sunday, the winner will create history to become the first Malaysian girls’ shuttler ever to win the world junior championships.
The boys’ doubles finals will also be an exciting match-up when the top two seeds, namely No. 1 He Jiting/Zheng Siwei of China and No. 2 Joel Eipe/Frederik Søgaard Mortensen of Denmark will fight for the boys’ doubles title.
Although they are playing as a pair in men’s doubles, both Zheng Siwei and He Jiting of China will face off against each other in the mixed doubles finals. Zheng Siwei will partner with last year’s mixed doubles winner Chen Qingchen to take on He Jiting and Du Yue for the mixed doubles crown.
In the boys’ singles finals, Siril Verma of India and No. 6 seed Lu Chia Hung of Chinese Taipei are poised to become the first player from their country to win the world junior title.
China has already guaranteed gold and silver in the girls’ doubles category when No. 1 seeds Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan set up an all-Chinese finals against compatriots No. 10 seed Du Yue/Li Yinhui on Sunday.