Top seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn kept his hopes alive of a third straight men’s singles title, avenging last week’s defeat to Bobby Setiabudi in the quarterfinals of the BWF World Junior Championship 2019 today.
Vitidsarn’s loss to Setiabudi in the opening match of the mixed team event had paved the way for Indonesia’s defeat of Thailand in the semifinals. With Setiabudi taking the opening game today, Vitidsarn looked set for a tough evening, but the Thai rose to the occasion. Stepping up the pace and attacking judiciously and precisely, Vitidsarn overhauled Setiabudi 17-21 21-16 21-14. He is now within two wins of becoming the first men’s singles player to win three World Junior titles in a row.
He will take on another Indonesian, Yonathan Ramlie, who beat Malaysia’s Shahyar Shaqeem, while the other half of the draw will see China’s Li Yun Ze face Christo Popov, who made history with a first-ever medal at the World Junior Championships for France. Popov turned in a fine attacking display that left China’s Ren Cheng Ming trailing in the dust, 16-21 21-10 21-13.
Gunji Marches On
In women’s singles, Akane Yamaguchi-lookalike Riko Gunji powered her way past fourth seed Putri Kusuma Wardani, 21-12 21-12. Top seed Phittayaporn Chaiwan awaits her in the semifinals.
The lower half saw China’s Dai Wang struggle against the sparkling left-handed strokeplay of Chinese Taipei’s Hung En-Tzu. The Chinese, often caught by the steep strokes of her opponent, chased down every shuttle and frustrated her opponent, 21-13 21-19. She will take on Zhou Meng in an all-China semifinal tomorrow.
Men’s doubles defending champions Di Zi Jian/Wang Chang (China) and mixed doubles defending champions Leo Rolly Carnando/Indah Cahya Sari Jamil (Indonesia) made their way into the semifinals with straight-games victories.
The closest match of the day saw China’s Jiang Zheng Bang/Li Yi Jing beat Japan’s Kakeru Kumagai/Mizuki Otake after saving three match points, 22-20 18-21 23-21.
“I attacked too much in the team match; his defence is quite strong and his returns were good. Today I had to change a bit and moved him around and then kept pressing forward. This is my last year in the juniors and there is a lot of pressure as the third title is on my mind,” said Vitidsarn.