Sayaka Hirota and Yuki Fukushima made their first World Superseries semi-final beating China’s Tang Jinhua and Huang Yaqiong at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2017 today.
Incidentally, the Japanese (featured image) had fallen to the same opponents in the first round of the same event last year.
Despite losing a thrilling first game – which the Chinese took 30-29 – the Japanese Women’s Doubles pair stuck to their steady game, taking few risks and capitalising on the few openings they made. The 29-30 21-18 21-15 result ensured an all-Japanese semi-final against Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao, who progressed in three games over Denmark’s Maiken Fruergaard/Sara Thygesen.
In Men’s Doubles, top seeds Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (Malaysia) went down in quick time to China’s Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen 21-15 21-17. The Malaysians just couldn’t get going, faltering with their length and being unable to wrest the initiative.
In the other half, Yonex All England champions Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Indonesia) edged past Russians Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov 21-18 22-20.
“We expected a tough match,” said Fernaldi. “They play fast, the tall guy (Ivanov) smashes hard. It’s a little confusing to play them.
“The conditions are different from last year. The shuttles are fast and it’s windier. We must learn to adapt.”
Women’s Singles saw defending champion Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand) go down to second seed Sung Ji Hyun (Korea), while Akane Yamaguchi extended her recent dominance over Japanese compatriot Nozomi Okuhara.
Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen’s great run of form in India continued as he made yet another semi-final. The Dane – runner-up in 2015 and 2016 – overcame a battling Wang Tzu Wei (Chinese Taipei) 19-21 21-14 21-16.