Osaka: Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan who regained the World No. 1 position this week, defeated her good friend and World No. 8 Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand 21-19, 21-18 in the Japan Open quarter-finals on Friday.
Friday’s match was the 32nd battle between the two, setting the record for the most head-to-head matches ever played between two women’s singles opponents.
Highlights of Tai Tzu Ying vs. Ratchanok Intanon in 2022 Japan Open quarters:
The previous record was held by Susi Susanti of Indonesia and Ye Zhao Ying of China for a total of 31 matches.
On Friday, Tai and Intanon shared a very similar style of play in terms of their attacking and deceptive shots. But, Tai ultimately walked away with a victory and will meet An Se Young of Korea in the semi-finals.
Another women’s singles semi-final will be a rematch of last week’s World Championships final where reigning world champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan will fight Chen Yufei of China for a ticket to the final.
In men’s singles, World No. 6 Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan survived a massive scare against World No. 18 HS Prannoy of India before beating the Indian 21-17, 15-21, 22-20 in 80 minutes. Chou will play World No. 22 Shi Yuqi of China in the semi-finals.
Denmark’s Anders Antonsen will take on Kenta Nishimoto of Japan in another men’s singles semi-final action.
The men’s doubles semi-final match on Saturday between Liang Wei Keng/Wang Chang of China and Choi Sol Gyu/Kim Won Ho of Korea will be an interesting display of the best offense (Liang/Wang) versus the best defense (Choi/Kim). Liang/Wang showed their ruthless attacks and a quick net interception to beat Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto of Indonesia 21-18, 19-21, 21-16 while Choi/Kim were hard to penetrate when they outlasted Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi of Malaysia 17-21, 21-17, 21-13 on Friday.
In addition to Ong/Teo, Malaysia’s mixed doubles pair – Hoo Pang Ron/Toh Ee Wei went down to the World No. 2 pair from China, Zheng Siwei/Huang Ya Qiong 10-21, 13-21.
“They played with full confidence, we have given our best but there are still many weaknesses that need to be fixed in order to get better,” said Toh.
Another Malaysian mixed doubles pair, the World No. 12 Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing were also shown the way out in the quarter-finals after losing to the fourth seeds from China, Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping 16-21, 15-21.