World Juniors: Tireless Kuo Keeps Going

World Juniors: Tireless Kuo Keeps Going
Chinese Taipei's Kuo Kuan Lin.

Kuo Kuan Lin’s unflagging energy saw him through to the men’s singles final of the BWF World Junior Championships a week after he’d helped Chinese Taipei make the title round of the Mixed Team event.

The lanky Chinese Taipei shuttler reversed his result from the Mixed Team final against Korea’s Kim Byung Jae, showing his characteristic composure during a tense phase in the end game.

Kuo, who’d beaten top seed Alex Lanier on Friday in three games, was playing his 12th match in two weeks, and wasn’t ruffled despite his opponent recovering from a three-point deficit to earn a narrow lead at 17-16. Kuo shot ahead at the end, 16-21 21-10 21-18.

“Over the last two weeks I’ve developed as a player, I’ve become more composed,” said Kuo. “For today’s match I studied my last loss to him in the Mixed Team final.”

Sankar Muthusamy is the third Indian in a World Junior final.

In the final on Sunday he faces India’s Sankar Muthusamy Subramanian, who became only the third Indian in a World Junior Championships final after Saina Nehwal (2008) and Siril Verma (2015) with a coolly efficient performance over Thailand’s Panitchaphon Teeraratsakul.

The Indian, revelling in his defensive rally game, wore down the Thai, whose attempts to find quick winners ended often in frustration. Subramanian showed no sign of fatigue from the 90-minute quarterfinal of the previous day; instead, it was Teeraratsakul who looked worn out and feeling the effects of a long campaign during which he played a vital role for Thailand in the Mixed Team event.

“I expected him to attack, and I managed to defend and keep the rally going,” said Subramanian. “I was prepared for his tricky shots. I had to play defence at a good pace.

“I’m excited to be in the final. Quite happy with the way I played.”

Yuan An Qi Outplays Wardoyo

The women’s singles final will see China’s Yuan An Qi against Japan’s Tomoka Miyazaki.

Yuan An Qi had a hard time to begin with against Indonesia’s Ester Nurumi Tri Wardoyo, who was attempting to emulate the feat of her older brother Chico, World Junior finalist in 2016. Wardoyo started well, cracking some delightful winners through sharp angles, but with Yuan settling down in the longer rallies, the points came sparingly.

By the third game it was one-way traffic, with the Chinese closing out the contest 17-21 21-15 21-11.

China in Four Finals

Zhu Yi Jun (left) and Liu Sheng Shu

China bounced back from their disappointing campaign in the Mixed Team event, making four finals and assuring themselves of the mixed doubles gold.

The Chinese won all their matches on semifinals day, with mixed doubles pair Zhu Yi Jun and Liu Sheng Shu in line for a double. Zhu Yi Jun made the men’s doubles final with Xu Hua Yu, while Liu Sheng Shu partnered Wang Ting Ge to a hard-fought victory over Japan’s Kokona Ishikawa/Riko Kiyose, 17-21 21-13 21-17.

The Chinese face Indonesia in two of those finals. Muh Putra Erwiansyah/Patra Harapan Rindorindo needed just 35 minutes to ease into the men’s doubles final, while their compatriots Meilysa Trias Puspita Sari/Rachel Allessya Rose were taken the distance by Japan’s Rui Kiyama/Kanano Muroya.

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