A fast and enterprising performance from fleet-footed 22-year-old Shi Yuqi ensured that China will win back the men’s singles title at the Badminton All England Open in
Shi overcame Son Wan Ho, the fifth-seeded Korean to reach the final of the famous 118-year-old tournament with a 21-17, 21-14 win. Two-time former champion Lin Dan faces Chinese compatriot Huang Yuxiang in the other semi-final later.
Son may have been blunted by two gruelling three-game tussles in the past three days and the fresher Shi was quick to take advantage once he was able to snap out an error-strewn start that saw him fall 7-11 behind in the first game and 5-9 in the second.
Shi hit top form with a seven-point sequence in the middle of the second game to decisively swing the match in his favour. His success followed a surprisingly comfortable victory over China’s Olympic champion Chen Long on Friday, and offers the chance of redemption after being blown away by Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in last year’s final.
“My form is getting better and better,” Shi said.
“In the final I hope I can do better than last year. This time I will be playing one of my team mates, so I will be able to prepare for specific details.”
By contrast Tai Tzu Ying’s victory over Chen Yufei ensured that China cannot regain the title in a women’s singles event it once used to dominate.
The top-seeded defending All England champion from Taiwan won 21-15, 20-22, 21-3 against the eighth-seeded Chen Yufei, a 20-year-old former world junior champion, recovering from a temporary loss of concentration in the second game and re-asserting her reputation as the world’s most skilful female player.
Her opponent in the final will be the World Super Series finals winner from Japan Akane Yamaguchi, who defeated the Olympic silver medallist from India Pusarla Sindhu 19-21, 21-19 21-18 in the semi-final yesterday.
China’s Shi Yuqi in action against South Korea’s Son Wan Ho during their singles All England Open Badminton Championships semi-final in Birmingham. (AFP)