An Se Young Is Unstoppable! Secures Spot in Semi-Finals for the 15th Time this Season at Japan Masters

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An Se Young and Chen Yufei are poised to meet again in the Japan Masters semi-finals. (photo: AFP)
An Se Young and Chen Yufei are poised to meet again in the Japan Masters semi-finals. (photo: AFP)

Kumamoto: Despite the thick bandaging on her right knee, An Se Young, South Korea’s reigning badminton queen, continues to shine. In Friday’s Japan Masters, she triumphed over Thailand’s Supanida Katethong with a score of 21-17, 21-9, securing her place in the top 4 of the women’s singles.

An Se Young vs. Supanida Katethong in the 2023 Japan Masters quarter-finals:

An, firmly reigning behind the shuttlecock, emerged victorious against the Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Chen Yufei in the women’s singles gold medal match at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September. However, this triumph came at a cost as she sustained a right knee injury. Consequently, she had to skip the European competition in October due to a knee tendon injury and only made her comeback at the Japan Masters.

Despite the continued bandaging on An’s right knee, she exhibited exceptional form, showcasing remarkable skill. Overcoming a 4-9 deficit in the first game against Katethong, An demonstrated her prowess. In the second game, she achieved an impressive consecutive streak of 8 points, establishing a substantial lead of 20-6 and ultimately securing victory in straight games.

The 21-year-old An remains nearly unbeatable this season. With this latest triumph, she has secured an impressive streak of 28 consecutive victories, encompassing competitions such as the Asia Badminton Championships, World Championships, and the Hangzhou Asian Games. Her remarkable performance includes reaching the top four on 15 occasions, clinching victory 10 times within this period. In the upcoming quarterfinals for the championship, she will face China’s Chen Yufei again.

Chen Yufei, the Tokyo Olympic gold medalist, emerged victorious against Spain’s 2016 Olympic champion Carolina Marin with a score of 21-12, 21-9.

Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen, showcased an impressive performance in the Japan Masters men’s singles quarter-finals, particularly in the second game where he secured 11 consecutive points. Ultimately, he triumphed over the 24-year-old Koki Watanabe with a score of 21-17, 21-15, advancing to the top 4 in the men’s singles category in a 43-minute encounter. Chou will take on Shi Yuqi next.

Shi, on the contrary, secured victory over Kento Momota with a score of 21-17, 21-12, while Viktor Axelsen overcame Jonatan Christie in a thrilling encounter, triumphing 15-21, 21-18, 21-9. Axelsen is set to face world No. 37 Takuma Obayashi of Japan in the semi-finals. Obayashi achieved a significant upset by defeating world No. 10 Anders Antonsen with a scoreline of 21-12, 10-21, 21-12.

Highlights of Shi Yuqi vs. Kento Momota in the 2023 Japan Masters quarter-finals:

In men’s doubles, Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi advanced to the semi-finals and are scheduled to face No. 7 seeds Liu Yu Chen/Ou Xuan Yi on Saturday. Additionally, two Chinese pairs, He Ji Ting/Ren Xiang Yu and Tan Qiang/Zhou Hao Dong, will compete in another men’s doubles semi-final.

The Japan Masters semi-final matchups on Saturday include:

Women’s Doubles:

Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara vs. Liu Sheng Shu/Tan Ning
Rena Miyaura/Ayako Sakuramoto vs. Zhang Shu Xian/Zheng Yu

Mixed Doubles:
Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong vs. Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yu Jung
Feng Yan Zhe/Huang Dong Ping vs. Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino

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