Kumamoto Masters: An Se Young’s Winning Streak Ends

World No.1 An Se Young’s 31-match unbeaten run stretching back to July came to an end at the hands of familiar rival Chen Yu Fei at the Kumamoto Masters Japan 2023.

The Korean, coming back from a knee injury, was stopped in the semifinals by Chen, 21-18 20-22 21-8, marking only her sixth defeat this year, and her first after five straight title victories. Incidentally, her last defeat, in the semifinals of the Indonesia Open 2023, also came at the hands of Chen. The only players apart from Chen to beat her this year are Akane Yamaguchi and Tai Tzu Ying.

An, who had a strapping on her right knee, was chasing Chen for the most part, and the Chinese did have two match points in the second game. After the Korean forced a decider, she appeared to have little left in the tank, and Chen eased through comfortably in the end. The Olympic champion faces Gregoria Mariska Tunjung, who made her third final of the year with an untroubled 21-12 21-13 result over Beiwen Zhang.

Axelsen is in his first final after three events

Viktor Axelsen made his first final since the VICTOR China Open and his seventh this year, beating qualifier Takuma Obayashi 21-7 21-13. Up next will be Shi Yu Qi, who beat Chou Tien Chen 21-15 21-16.

Both mixed doubles semifinals were thrilling affairs. Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong survived match point in the second game to beat world champions Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yu Jung 20-22 23-21 21-13, while compatriots Feng Yan Zhe/Huang Dong Ping saved two match points against local hopes Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino to make the final, 18-21 21-15 24-22.


Feng Yan Zhe and Huang Dong Ping

All three doubles finals will be all-China affairs.

In women’s doubles Liu Sheng Shu/Tang Ning beat Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara, while Zhang Shu Xian/Zheng Yu overcame Rena Miyaura/Ayako Sakuramoto, both in straight games.

The men’s doubles final will see Liu Yu Chen/Ou Xuan Yi against He Ji Ting/Ren Xiang Yu. Liu/Ou fought back from 14-19 and match point down in the second game to beat Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi 16-21 22-20 21-17.


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