Chen Yufei Ends An Se Young’s Streak of 28 Consecutive Wins At Japan Masters

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Chen Yufei beats An Se Young in the 2023 Japan Masters semi-finals. (photo: AFP)
Chen Yufei beats An Se Young in the 2023 Japan Masters semi-finals. (photo: AFP)

Kumamoto: In the Japan Masters’ top four, despite saving two late match points and forcing a decider, world No. 1 An Se Young of Korea ultimately succumbed to China’s world No. 3, Chen Yufei, with a score of 18-21, 22-20, 8-21, missing out on the women’s singles final.

Highlights of Chen Yufei vs. An Se Young in the 2023 Japan Masters semi-finals:

The 21-year-old An Se Young has been in exceptional form this season, reaching the semi-finals 15 times and securing 10 titles. Following her victory over Chen Yufei for the gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games, she had to take a hiatus from international competition due to a knee injury and only made her return in this week’s Japan Masters.

Despite wearing a thick bandage on her right knee throughout the week, An Se Young managed to advance to the top four. However, she faced a formidable challenge against Chen Yufei. Although she lost the first game, An Se Young fought valiantly in the second game, with Chen holding a slim lead of 20-18. The 21-year-old An displayed remarkable resilience, saving match points twice and scoring four consecutive points to force the match into a decisive third set.

However, it became evident that An Se Young, still grappling with an unhealed knee injury, was losing strength in the crucial game. She could only muster 8 points in the end, allowing Chen Yufei to avenge her defeat in the Hangzhou Asian Games.

An Se Young, who has maintained an undefeated streak since July, last experienced defeat at the hands of Chen Yufei in straight games at the Indonesia Open. Chen Yufei stands as the sole woman to secure victory over An Se Young three times this year.

Despite her setback in the Asian Games, Chen Yufei showcased outstanding performance afterward. She clinched two consecutive championships in Denmark and France, reaching the finals in her first Asian stop, the Japan Masters.

Chen will face off against Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia, who secured victory by defeating Zhang Beiwen of the USA with a score of 21-12, 21-13 in the final.

In both the mixed doubles and women’s doubles finals, the China team asserted dominance. Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong will compete against Feng Yan Zhe/Huang Dong Ping in the mixed doubles final, while Liu Sheng Shu/Tan Ning are slated to confront teammates Zhang Shu Xian/Zheng Yu for the women’s doubles crown.

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