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Yamaguchi cruises into World Tour Finals decider | Free Malaysia Today – Free Malaysia Today

BANGKOK: World champion Akane Yamaguchi booked a ticket to the last stage of the season-ending badminton World Tour Finals in Bangkok today, crushing Olympic gold medallist Chen Yufei.
The Badminton World Federation shifted its US$1.5 million flagship event to the Thai capital’s Nimibutr Arena after original host China dropped the tournament due to its tough Covid restrictions.
The semifinal today was a rematch from Thursday when Chen beat Yamaguchi in straight games.
Yamaguchi got off to a flying start with feisty smash shots and fancy footwork but Chen fought hard to stay in contention.
The Japanese 25-year-old managed to seal the first game 21-19 after an electrifying final rally.
Momentum stayed with her in the second, where she carved out a nine-point advantage at the mid-game interval before clinching it 21-10.
“For the second game, I played well with all my power and skills and the win in the first game boosted my confidence and helped me win easily,” Yamaguchi told reporters.
Chen said her opponent is an outstanding player.
“I had no problem with my energy levels, I think I was just not decisive enough … I kept making adjustments but I think ultimately I was too slow,” the Chinese star told reporters.
Tomorrow, Yamaguchi will play the winner of the other semifinal – Tai Tzu Ying from Taiwan or China’s He Bing Jiao.
In the men’s draw, world No 1 Viktor Axelsen will be hoping to put yesterday’s surprise loss behind him when he meets Japan’s Kodai Naraoka.
India’s HS Prannoy, who was ineligible to advance to the semifinals, upset the dominant 28-year-old Dane – only his third defeat this year.
Indonesian stars Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie will face off in the other men’s semifinal.
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